The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

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March 31, 2005

Contact: Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications, (512) 471.7330 or (cell) 512-825-9525, or Lisa Capers and Kristy Almager, Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, 512-424-6700 or (cell) 512-694-7894

Public Memorial Service to Celebrate the Life of Professor Robert O. Dawson, April 2

AUSTIN, Texas — A public memorial service for Robert O. Dawson, a long-time law professor at The University of Texas at Austin who passed away on Feb. 26, will be held Saturday, April 2, at 2 p.m. at UT’s LBJ Auditorium. A reception will immediately follow in the Susman Godfrey Atrium of the Law School.

Speakers at the memorial service will be UT Law professors Michael Sharlot, George Dix and Bill Allison; Rodney Gonzales, chief financial officer of the City of San Marcos; and the Honorable Toby Goodman of the Texas House of Representatives. A video montage of Professor Dawson’s life will also be shown at the service.

Parking for the service and reception will be available in lots 38, 39 and 40, all located along Red River Street between East Dean Keeton Street and Clyde Littlefield Road (Manor Road) and adjacent to the LBJ Auditorium and Sid Richardson Hall complex. The LBJ Auditorium is accessed by entering Sid Richardson Hall III on the first level and proceeding to the basement. Please note that the LBJ Auditorium is part of the Thompson Conference Center when you are looking at maps of the University (

Professor Dawson, who wrote the Texas juvenile justice laws, died at his home in Fentress, Texas, on Feb. 26. He was 65 years old.

Professor Dawson held the Bryant Smith Chair in Law at the Law School, where he taught for 37 years beginning in 1968. From 1974 through 1998, he served as the director of the Criminal Defense Clinic which he co-founded. He and his co-supervisors worked with more than 1,200 students on criminal defendants’ cases. Those students handled more than 7,200 cases. Dawson also co-founded and co-directed the Law School ’s Actual Innocence Clinic, which teaches students how to screen and investigate claims from prison inmates that they are actually innocent of the offense for which they were convicted.

As a reformer and scholar, Professor Dawson wrote extensively on criminal and juvenile law, with a particular emphasis on Texas criminal practice and procedure and Texas juvenile law. He drafted much of the juvenile justice legislation enacted by the Texas legislature during the past 30 years. Professor Dawson was also a national expert in equine law, an interest he shared with his wife, attorney and horsemanship safety expert Jan Dawson, a 1983 graduate of UT Law.

The public memorial service was organized by the UT School of Law and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission. The memorial video montage and memory book will be available online at as of Monday, April 4.

By Professor Dawson’s direction, memorials may be made to the following: American Association for Horsemanship Safety, P.O. Box 39, Fentress, Texas, 78622, and Texas Center for Actual Innocence, 700 Lavaca, Suite 1550, Austin, Texas, 78701.

Memorial Links: