Amanda Marzullo holds a J.D. and M.S. in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she received the GAPSA-Provost Award for Interdisciplinary Research (one of six university-wide prizes), a Toll Public Interest Scholarship, and the Criminology in Practice award for the best graduating thesis. She also obtained an LL.M. from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates-Cambridge Scholar. Prior to joining TDS, she was a lobbyist for the Texas Fair Defense Project and an Associate at Clayman & Rosenberg LLP, a criminal defense boutique in New York. During her tenure at Clayman & Rosenberg LLP, she represented clients in a broad spectrum of matters before state and federal court, such as wire/bank fraud, domestic violence, assault, and post-conviction proceedings. While at the Fair Defense Project, she worked on a number of criminal justice reform initiatives, including efforts to eliminate modern-day debtors’ prisons, and improve indigent defense delivery systems throughout Texas.
Kathryn M. Kase has represented capital clients at trial the state courts of Texas and New York, and has served as learned counsel in federal court. Her capital defense work has addressed the complexities of intellectual disability, mental illness, and international law. She also consults with and assists trial-level defense teams, with a special focus on teams representing foreign nationals facing the death penalty in the United States. She received a law degree, cum laude, in 1990, from St. Mary’s University School of Law, where she was an Articles Editor for the St. Mary’s Law Journal. After a period in private practice in San Antonio and later in Albany, New York, she joined TDS in 2002 and served as its Executive Director from late 2011 to early 2017. Ms. Kase speaks frequently throughout the U.S. at CLE programs devoted to capital defense. In 2002, the Criminal Justice Section of the New York State Bar Association named her the Outstanding Criminal Practitioner. The National Law Journal has recognized her as an Outstanding Woman Lawyer and she is an elected member of the American Law Institute. She is licensed to practice law in Texas, New York and the District of Columbia, and she is admitted to practice in a number of federal courts, including the Southern District of Texas, the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lee Kovarsky is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland (Carey) School of Law, where he teaches Habeas Corpus, Federal Courts, Conflicts of Law, as well as Civil and Criminal Procedure. He has also been full time faculty at NYU School of Law. He has published numerous law review articles on the death penalty and on post-conviction law, and in 2013 he published the flagship Foundation Press Case Book on habeas corpus (with Brandon Garrett). He has been affiliated with TDS since 2009, and has been a staff attorney, a senior staff attorney, and the Director of the Federal Habeas Project. He specializes in federal and Supreme Court litigation, but he also has considerable crisis and non-crisis experience in other federal and state courts. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2004, where he was an Articles Editor for the Virginia Law Review and an Olin Scholar. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Jerry E. Smith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and he worked in private practice as a Supreme Court and appellate practitioner. He is licensed to practice law in New York and Texas and is admitted to practice before: the U.S. District Court for Southern District of Texas; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second, Fifth, and Federal Circuits; and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sam Touchet joined Texas Defender Service after 10 years in the private sector as the CFO of a software development company. Prior experience includes Treasury Manager at Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, Texas, Cash and Investments Manager at the City of Dallas, and a stint in the United States Navy. Sam received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin and his Masters of Business Administration in International Banking from the Texas A&M International University in Laredo.
Gerald Bennett received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in communications from Prairie View A&M University and a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Sociology from Texas Southern University. He has 11 years executive management experience and has been the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Victoria, Texas and the United Way of Odessa, Texas. Recently, Gerald was the Director of Development and Communications for the Greater East End Management, an organization focusing on neighborhood revitalization and economic development in Houston’s east end.
Kate Black received her J.D. from the University of Denver, where she interned with the Appellate Division of the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender and the Gulf Region Advocacy Center (GRACE), and where she clerked for United States Magistrate Judge Craig B. Shaffer. Prior to re-joining the Texas Defender Service in 2014, she served as a contract attorney with the Texas Habeas Assistance and Training Program, where she consulted with lawyers representing capital defendants in federal court pursuant to a Texas state court judgment. Ms. Black is licensed to practice law in Texas and the District of Columbia and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Burke Butler received her law degree from Yale Law School in 2011, and clerked for Judge Ellison of the Southern District of Texas and Judge Hartz of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Burke joins TDS with the support of Yale’s Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellowship. She spent the first year of her Liman fellowship at the Texas Civil Rights Project, where she focused on prisoners’ rights litigation and advocacy. While in law school, Burke participated in clinical programs related to criminal justice, and in 2011, was awarded Yale’s C. LaRue Munson Prize for Excellence in the Investigation, Preparation, and Presentation of a Legal Case under a Law School Clinical Program. Her experience also includes authoring an American Bar Association report and resolution on prisoner security classification, interning at the ACLU’s National Security Project, and volunteering for non-profits in Sierra Leone, India, Afghanistan, and Peru
Callie Heller received her J.D. from the University of Michigan in 2014. During law school, she worked as a student attorney in the Michigan Innocence Clinic, as a Dean’s Public Service Fellow at the California Appellate Project, and at the State Appellate Defender in Detroit. Prior to joining TDS in 2016, she worked as a fellow at the Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office. Callie has also done human rights and criminal justice work in Cambodia and South Africa.
Natalie Ware received her law degree from Catholic University in Washington D.C. During law school, she interned for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and The Bronx Defenders, and was a student attorney in the Criminal Division of D.C. Law Students in Court. Before joining Texas Defenders Service, Natalie served as an Assistant Public Defender in Miami Dade County, where she handled both felony and misdemeanor cases in Juvenile and County Court. Natalie spent her time between college and law school working as a criminal investigator in Washington D.C. At TDS, Natalie serves as a John P. Niland Fellow in the Capital Trial Project, assisting trial lawyers across the state on capital murder cases. Natalie is licensed to practice law in Florida, Illinois and Texas.
Anuthara Hegoda received her JD from UC Berkeley, where she took part in the Death Penalty Clinic, and interned with the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana and the Philadelphia Capital Habeas Unit. She received her BA in Economics and Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and has volunteered for human rights organizations and non-profits in Sri Lanka, Zambia, and the UK.
Randi Chavez received a Master of Science in Social Work in 2003. While completing her graduate degree she interned at Texas Defender Service as a mitigation specialist. Upon graduation, she was hired as the first full-time mitigation specialist for the Gulf Region Advocacy Center (GRACE) and later worked independently as a mitigation specialist at both the trial and post-conviction levels. She then honed her clinical skills for three years as a clinical social worker in an inpatient psychiatric hospital in Austin, Texas. She returned to Texas Defender Service in December of 2009 as a mitigation specialist with the Capital Trial Project.
Gloria Flores received an Associate Applied Science Legal Assistant Degree in Legal Technology from the Houston Community College. She worked for 22 years for Transco/Williams, as a Data Entry Operator, a Gas Scheduling Administrative Assistant and as a Gas System Scheduling Analyst. After leaving Transco/Williams, she volunteered as a legal administrative assistant for the Texas Attorney General Child Support Bankruptcy Division before joining Texas Defender Service in 2004.
Greg Wiercioch received his law degree from the Washington and Lee School of Law in Lexington, Virginia in 1992. After law school he served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer, Northern District of Texas. Since then he has worked exclusively on the post-conviction cases of indigent death row inmates, first with the Texas Resource Center and since 1995, for Texas Defender Service. He is licensed to practice law in Texas and admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Wiercioch successfully argued Panetti vs. Quarterman before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007. He now works with TDS on a contract basis.
Steve Hall is a communication specialist at Texas Defender Service. He was the founding director of The StandDown Texas Project from 2000 to 2014, which focused on identifying and advocating best practices in the criminal justice system, with a particular focus on capital punishment. He was the Chief of Staff to the Attorney General of Texas from 1983 to 1991, and an administrator at the Texas Resource Center, a non-profit legal services program, from 1993 to 1995. Hall has worked for state representatives, the U.S. Congress, and served as director of communication for two statewide political campaigns in Texas. Prior to his work in public affairs and media relations, Hall was a journalist and the recipient of an Associated Press Broadcasters award for investigative journalism. He holds a Bachelors degree in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and Management of Nonprofit Organization certification from the University’s Professional Development Center. He is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association.