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Sandra Guerra Thompson
Alumnae College Professor of Law
Director; Criminal Justice Institute
Sandra Guerra Thompson is the Alumnae College Professor in Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Houston Law Center. She is the recipient of the University of Houston's Distinguished Leadership in Teaching Excellence Award in 2015, as well as the Teaching Excellence Award in 2003 and the Ethel Baker Faculty Award in 2000. Her recent book is Cops in Lab Coats: Curbing Wrongful Convictions with Independent Forensic Laboratories (Carolina Academic Press 2015), favorably reviewed in the Michigan Law Review, Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, and Boston Review.
She has written articles on subjects including: wrongful convictions, eyewitness identifications, forensic science, civil asset forfeiture, federal sentencing, discrimination in jury selection, prosecutorial ethics, police interrogations, and immigration crimes.
She has chaired committees for the transition teams of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in 2016 and District Attorney Kim Ogg in 2017. In 2012, Houston Mayor Annise Parker appointed her as a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Houston Forensic Science Center, a group charged with creating and overseeing an independent forensic lab and transferring such duties from the Houston Police Department's crime lab. In 2015, she became the Vice Chair for this Board.
In 2009, she was appointed by Governor Perry as the representative of the Texas public law schools on the Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions.
Professor Thompson is an elected member of the American Law Institute and was appointed to the Board of Advisors for the Institute's sentencing reform project. In 2000, she served as Chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the Association of American Law Schools. She was named one of the top 25 Women of Vision for 2009 by Hispanic Business magazine. In 1996, she became the first Latina tenured law professor in the State of Texas.
She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School. While in law school, she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. After graduation from law school, she served as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office where she practiced both trial and appellate criminal law from 1988-1990. A native of Laredo, Texas, she was named a "2014 Mustang Legend" by Laredo's J.W. Nixon High School, her alma mater.
B.A., Yale University; J.D., Yale University