Houston, TX

Leadership Change in UH Law Center's Criminal Justice Institute

Jason Martinez

HOUSTON, TX - The University of Houston Law Center's Criminal Justice Institute announced its new leadership on August 18. After 18 years of great dedication to the institution as director, Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson announced her retirement from the position.

Dean Leonard M. Baynes conveyed his thank and appreciation for Professor Guerra Thompson for her 18 years of service and leadership as director. He also noted how her efforts and hard work advanced the institute to a high level that stands out today.

Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson, Newell H. Blakely Professor of Law, teaches Hot Topics in Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Criminal Evidence, and Criminal Law. Her research culminated in a book published in 2015, "Cops in Lab Coats: Curbing Wrongful Convictions through Independent Forensic Laboratories."

This book was referenced by an advisory board founded by then-President Barack Obama, the President's Advisory Council on Science and Technology, in September 2016. Thompson also testified in the 2017 Congress, hearing about the future of forensic science.

Zachary D. Kaufman, Associate Professor of Law and Political Science will succeed Professor Guerra Thompson with the new co-directors Associate Professor David Kwok. Baynes said how confident he is that the institute will achieve additional levels of gravity and excellence, building on Professor Guerra Thompson's achievements under the leadership of Professor Kwok and Professor Kaufman.

Kaufman has been serving the Law Center's faculty since 2019. He teaches and writes in international justice and atrocities, international law, and criminal law. Kaufman is one of the life members of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as secretary of the Association of American Law Schools' International Human Rights Section and co-chair of the American Society of International Law's Human Rights Interest Group.

Kaufman mentioned how he feels honored of his new position, and that it is a testament to Professor Guerra Thompson's leadership that takes two people to follow in her great and courageous footsteps. He also looks forward to working with Professor Kwok.

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