President | Gary Udashen
Gary Udashen is an experienced trial and appellate attorney in Dallas. Udashen has over 30 years experience trying cases in both Federal and State courts. He frequently appears as a speaker at seminars for groups such as State Bar of Texas, Dallas Bar Association and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Udashen is Board Certified in Criminal Law and Criminal Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has been named as a Texas Monthly Super Lawyer each year since 2003 and is listed in the publication Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Appellate Law, White-Collar Criminal Defense and Non-White Collar Criminal Defense. In 2011, Best Lawyers in America named Udashen as Dallas White Collar Defense Lawyer of the Year and in 2014 Best Lawyers in America named him Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year. Udashen was also awarded a 2014 Pro Bono Award by the publication Super Lawyers for his work with the Innocence Project of Texas. In 2008, Udashen was appointed by the Court of Criminal Appeals to serve as a member of the Texas Criminal Justice Integrity Unit. Udashen has been involved, both through the Innocence Project of Texas and his private practice, in 20 exonerations.
Vice-President | Cory Session
Cory Session graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1991 and worked as a legislative aid for Representative Garfield Thompson from 1991 to 1994. He is the brother of Timothy Cole, who was posthumously exonerated by IPTX in 2009. Cory testified about his family's experience with wrongful convictions at the Texas Legislature, and he has made numerous public appearances in order to educate the public about the causes of wrongful convictions and how they can be prevented. He continues to advocate on behalf of the wrongfully convicted since joining forces with IPTX. He currently resides in Fort Worth, Texas.
Vice-President | Walter Reaves
Walter Reaves has been a criminal defense lawyer since 1980. During that time he has represented defendants charged with all types of offenses, ranging from minor misdemeanors to death penalty cases. During his career, he obtained an exoneration for Calvin Washington, who had been convicted of capital murder and spent 16 years in prison. Reaves was also able to obtain the exoneration of his co-defendant, Joe Sidney Williams, after successfully winning the reversal of his case on appeal several years earlier.
Recently, Reaves has represented defendants in cases involving forensic issues. Those cases started with his representation of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed despite evidence being presented that the fire which killed his children was not intentionally set. As a result of that experience, Reaves is currently involved in the litigation of several arson cases.
Reaves has been board certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1985. He has written numerous articles on various areas of criminal law, and has also authored several books about the justice system. For more information about Walter, or to request a copy of a book, visit his website at ReavesLegal.com.
Treasurer | Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson joined the Innocence Project of Texas board in late 2014 after returning to private practice. In 2011 Russell was chosen to lead the Dallas County Conviction Integrity Unit where he spearheaded the successful exoneration of 13 men. The Dallas CIU was responsible for the highest number of exonerations in the country in 2011 and 2012. Russell was also in charge of civil rights prosecutions against police officers, contempt charges against prosecutors, review of police actions and misconduct. Subsequently, under Russell’s direction, a Civil Rights Unit was established at the DA’s office, which implemented several policies to ensure accuracy in criminal convictions. Additionally, his work at the CIU led him to work with the Innocence Project and consult with other state agencies and nonprofits furthering his skills and experience to successfully review and manage wrongful conviction cases. His time at the DA also propelled his community relations work between the community and law enforcement; with an emphasis on justice and civil rights education as well as promoting citizens’ critical awareness to prevent injustices in all its forms.
After his service at the DA’s office, Russell returned to private practice where he continues to work on a variety of civil and criminal cases. In addition to his legal practice and community work, Russell also serves as an adjunct professor of law at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law where he teaches a course on ethics. Additionally, Russell Wilson holds several board positions and is a frequent guest speaker on criminal law topics; community policing; and the importance of higher education. He is a resource to fellow attorneys, legal associations and Dallas area community groups.
Member | Sarah Roland
Sarah is a criminal defense trial and appellate lawyer in Denton. She is blessed to practice with her brother, George, and has always wanted to be a criminal defense lawyer like her late dad, George Roland. She was a law student volunteer for ITX in its very early stages. Sarah is a past president of the Denton County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. She is very active in the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, where she has served as a board member, chairperson of the prosecutorial integrity committee, and chairperson of the Criminal Defense Lawyers Project. She is the current editor of The Voice for the Defense and serves on TCDLA’s executive committee. She has been recognized as a Super Lawyer every year since 2014. Sarah regularly writes and speaks about criminal law issues throughout the state.
Member | Meg Penrose
Meg is a professor at Texas A&M School of Law. She has a BA in History from UT-Arlington, a JD from Pepperdine University School of Law, and and LL.M. in International Human Rights from the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining A&M, she was a professor at the University of Oklahoma Law School. Meg is a prolific contributor to legal scholastic thought via her many publications, which cover a variety of subjects. Some of her particular areas of interest include constitutional law, criminal procedure, and habeas corpus.
Member | Chi Miller
The former CFO at Intel for 25 years, and former Sr. Director at Apple, Chi is now the CFO and COO at Ampere, a cloud-led data center. He was also a capital analyst at the Boeing Company and a financial analyst with Chrysler. Based in California and Oregon, Chi has volunteered extensively with Habitat for Humanity.
Member | Johnny Pinchback
Johnny Pinchback was convicted in 1984 and sentenced to 99 years in prison for the rape of two girls. He was exonerated by the Innocence Project of Texas in 2011 by DNA evidence proving that he was not the rapist. Johnny has continued to help other prisoners wrongly convicted and we are honored and appreciate his further involvement on our board.
Member | Jeremy Blackman
Jeremy Blackman is a Vice-President & Portfolio Manager at Luther King Capital Management, an Austin firm with $15 billion in asset management. He has extensive non-profit board experience including the Metro YMCA of Austin, the Long Center: Performing Arts of Austin and the Candlelight Ranch Foundation. Jeremy manages a number of endowments for a number of non-profit clients and will bring his expertise of investment policy and audits to IPTX.
Member | Naomi Howard
Naomi is an Associate at Rusty Hardin & Associates in Houston. Previously, she has served at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, where she served as briefing attorney to the Honorable Bert Richardson. She has served as an intern with the Federal Public Defender’s Office in San Antonio and was also a student attorney at the St. Mary’s Center for Legal & Social Justice.