GRACE is an independent, client-centered, Houston-based charity that provides high quality capital defense to indigents facing the death penalty. Beginning in 2002 with our life-saving representation of Calvin Burdine, who had been returned to Harris County for retrial because his original attorney slept during his first trial, to the dramatic life verdict in the 2008 jury trial of Juan Quintero Perez for murder of a police officer, and our successful pro bono representation of many other Texas defendants, GRACE has relied upon private funding, and volunteer labor to bring the methodologies of successful capital defense offices around the country to bear in the bloodiest courthouses in America. READ MORE...
The GRACE Office
The History of GRACE
GRACE began in 2002 when Calvin “Sleeping Lawyer” Burdine was returned to Harris County for retrial and Robert McGlasson, the habeas attorney who had fought for twenty years to overturn his unconstitutional conviction and sentence, was denied appointment to represent him at trial.
Ironically, the Texas Fair Defense Act, which had been passed in response to the revelation that Calvin’s original attorney slept through portions of his capital trial, was invoked to deny Calvin his attorney of choice at retrial. Calvin was adamant that he would not accept counsel chosen by the court.
Robert asked Danalynn Recer, a former post-conviction attorney who had switched to capital trial work several years before, to step in on a pro bono basis. Danalynn represented Calvin, eventually securing a life plea for him and founding the Gulf Region Advocacy Center (GRACE) in the process. Read more about our history.
Artwork by GRACE client.
GRACE gets Capital Murder Charges Dismissed!
August 3, 2013: GRACE client Kathryn McMahan was released from jail after a year of pretrial detention when capital murder charges that had been hanging over her for 26 years were finally dismissed! Kathryn accepted responsibility for a theft and had an emotional meeting with family of the man her former husband murdered over two decades ago.
Kathryn on the day of her release.
Then, she paid a visit to GRACE, a rare treat in an office where every client faces capital murder charges so that none receive bond.
Kathryn and Danalynn at the GRACE office.
Kathryn's representation was entirely pro bono and made possible only due to the recurring monthly donations of small individual donors whom we call our Steadfast Friends.
23 mitigators and lawyers come to GRACE's Mitigation Skills Bootcamp!
May 22-24, 2013: GRACE held an intensive in-house training on our methods and protocols. In recent years, we have opened it up to anyone from the capital defense community, space permitting. The Bootcamp is an intensive, interactive workshop to develop or hone the practical skills needed for working within a multi-disciplinary team to identify, develop and present social history evidence. It is required of all attorneys, mitigation specialists and interns joining GRACE as attorneys, mitigators, fellows or volunteers, so it is designed for folks with a wide range of experience and it addresses the roles of all core defense team members.
GRACE is contributes to the development, articulation, and protection of a high quality standard of care for capital counsel and mitigation specialists by developing and presenting our unique, skills-based, mitigation bootcamps for attorneys, investigators and mitigation specialists across the U.S.
Check out GRACE's Video and Giving Library Page!
The Giving Library is an online video archive providing philanthropists at all levels of giving with an efficient way to learn about work being done by nonprofits, such as the Gulf Region Advocacy Center
August 2012: GRACE staff are honored to have worked with NAACP LDF and lead counsel George Kendall of Squire Sanders in securing a life-saving plea for Delma Banks and a bringing a final resolution to the case for the Whitehead family. Read more...
June 2012: GRACE Executive Director, Danalynn Recer, in conjunction with LCAC, secured a life in prison without the possibility for parole plea for Dominic Robinson. Click here to read the The Times-Picayune article.
May 2012: GRACE secures a new hearing for Louisiana death row inmate Todd Wessinger... read more.
May 2012: Columbia Law School uncovers evidence that Texas executed an innocent man... read more.
April 2012: GRACE secures a stay of execution for Louisiana death row inmate Todd Wessinger... read more.
December 2011: Thank you to everyone who has helped GRACE and our clients survive another year! Here is our 2011 Holiday Newsletter.
December 2011: GRACE is ranked in this years Philanthropedia Local Criminal Justice charities... read more.
November 2011: GRACE board member represents British women on death row featured in documentary... read more.
October 2011: GRACE director discusses the effect race has on sentencing in a death penalty case at the New Yorker Festival... read more
Please check back often. We are currently updating our website.
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