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 19 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 written a book – “Understanding Habeas Corpus.” He currently writes a blog, which can be found at www.wacocriminallawblog.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 | Deborah Esquenazi
Deborah S. Esquenazi is a director, writer, and investigative journalist. She is the director of the critically acclaimed film Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four which won the Critic’s Choice Award for Best First Feature in 2016, and helped exonerate the ‘San Antonio Four’. She is a Rockwood JustFilms Ford Foundation Fellow, Sundance Documentary Film Fellow, Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, and a Firelight Film Fellow. Her work tackles the intersections of Mythology & Justice, Identity & Power. She lives in Austin, Texas.