TCADP Board of Directors

 

Ana Otero headshotProfessor Ana M. Otero, President. Ana earned her J.D. from Rutgers University in 1985. She obtained an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1982, and a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University in 1977. In 1975, she obtained her BA from Columbia University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Cum Laude.  She moved to Houston in 1991 and worked as a Staff Attorney in the Judicial Division of the Municipal Courts. In 1997, she was appointed Associate Municipal Court Judge and served in that capacity through September 2006.

In 1998, Ana was hired as Visiting Professor at Thurgood Marshall School of Law and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2002, and to full professor in 2014.  At Thurgood, she has taught Case Analysis, Appellate Litigation, and Comparative Constitutional Law. She currently teaches Civil Procedure, Evidence, Texas Practice, and a Death Penalty Seminar.  Also, she served as Director of the Judicial Externship Program from 2001-2004. She currently serves on the board of the Earl Carl Institute, as a member of the Pedagogical Institute, and as Faculty Advisor for the Hispanic Law Students Association. Her scholarship focuses on the area of the death penalty. For the past ten years, Ana has worked extensively with the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) as a lecturer in numerous workshops and as Director of two of its programs: The Mid-Winter Bar Workshop, and the Sophomore Summer Institute.

From 2011-2013, Ana served as a team member of the Texas Capital Punishment Assessment Team organized by the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Due Process Review Project. In September 2013, the Texas team issued a comprehensive report with recommendations to improve fairness and accuracy in the state’s death penalty system.

Ana is licensed to practice law both in Texas and Florida. She lives in Houston and joined the TCADP Board of Directors in 2015.  Ana has served as Chair of the Governance and Board Development Committees and as Vice President of the Board.


Karla Williams, Vice President. Karla currently serves in a variety of ministries connected to the Catholic Church, including being a prison ministry volunteer at several units in Gatesville. She became involved with TCADP after meeting and being inspired by anti-death penalty advocate, Sister Helen Prejean. She lives in Copperas Cove and joined the TCADP Board in May 2017.  Karla has served on the 2018 Annual Conference Committee and Personnel Committee.


Dr. Janice Ahmad, Treasurer. Janice is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Houston-Downtown. Her teaching and research interests include police management issues, community engagement, volunteers in policing, program evaluation, and crime victims. Recently, Janice and two department colleagues conducted an evaluation of Houston Police Department’s G.R.E.A.T program. She has also been involved in a DUI court evaluation, writing questions for police promotion tests, developing police officer training curriculum and conducted a job task analysis of state correctional officers resulting in revision of the academy curriculum.

Janice was a police officer, director of a prosecutor-based victim witness program and researcher for a public safety consulting company prior to her academic appointments. She is a former chair of the Academy of Criminal Justice Science’s Police Section and a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Police Administration Committee. She first became involved with TCADP in 2009 and joined the TCADP Board in 2018.


Niki Bergin, Secretary. Niki is a native Texan and 22-year resident of Dallas. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology from Louisiana Tech University in 1996 and, save for a three-year stint in the investment banking field, has spent her entire career working in the Special Hematology Laboratory at Baylor Scott and White Health (formerly Baylor University Medical Center). In 2008, she returned to school and received a Master of Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in The Arts and Cultural Traditions from Southern Methodist University.  It was during graduate school that she began her advocacy against the death penalty. Niki has been married to her husband, Hayden, for 18 years and is active in her community, volunteering at her sons’ schools, serving as treasurer for her neighborhood parent group, and delivering lunches for Meals on Wheels. Niki served on the TCADP 2018 Annual Conference Committee and chaired the 2019 Annual Conference Committee. She joined the TCADP Board in 2018.


Shannon Breeding. Shannon graduated from Huston-Tillotson University in East Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in English in Spring 2018. As a native of South Carolina, she participated in South Carolinians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Shannon has been a member of the TCADP Lobby Corps since its inception in 2012. She also is a 2016 Senator Kirk Watson Campaign Academy Fellow. Shannon was selected as a Discover Law scholar at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in summer of 2016. She was given the prestigious honor of being selected as a Hatton Sumners Foundation Scholar, a foundation that was set up in honor of former Texas Congressman Hatton Sumners.  Shannon also is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. She joined the TCADP Board in January 2017.


Virginia Greenway.  Virginia Greenway graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1999 and began practicing criminal law in 2001.  She opened her own law firm in 2004 focusing exclusively on criminal defense in the handling of both felonies and misdemeanors in State Court. 

Virginia is a past board member and Presiding Director of the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association and a past head of the Criminal Law Section of the Austin Bar Association.  She was a founding member of the TCADP Lobby Corps and joined the Board in February 2019. 


L Harris photo 6-12Dr. Lauralee Harris, Secretary. Lauralee is a native Texan. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of North Texas, her Masters of Public Administration from Angelo State University, and a Doctorate in Public Health from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. Lauralee has more than 20 years of experience as an executive director in the non-profit arena and has been heavily involved in social justice and human service issues.

In the nine years she served as Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Tarrant County, Lauralee helped to start an advocacy program for people living in unlicensed care homes, a law enforcement training and liaison program designed to divert people with mental illness from arrest into treatment, a mental health court to prevent incarceration of people with mental illness, and a suicide prevention program. She now has a consulting business that assists nonprofit organizations in administrative, board, program, and resource assessment and development. Lauralee lives in Kyle. She joined the board in 2015 and served as Vice President from 2016 – 2018 and as Secretary from 2018-2019.


Dr. Kimberly Harrison. Kimberly is a forensic psychologist in private practice in Austin, Texas. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University and her Master’s degree and doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Texas. After completing her postdoctoral fellowship in forensic clinical psychology at State Operated Forensic Services in Minnesota, she worked as Chief Psychologist at the Forensic Evaluation Service of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health in Columbia, South Carolina. During her time in South Carolina, she also served as an Assistant Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. Since moving to Austin in 2014, her professional practice has focused on forensic evaluations of individuals involved in criminal and civil courts. She has co-authored over a dozen peer-reviewed articles pertaining to mental health issues in the criminal justice system.  Kim joined the TCADP Board of Directors in May 2017. She served on both the 2017 and 2019 Annual Conference Committees.


Amanda Hernandez is a criminal defense attorney licensed to practice in Texas as well as federally in the Southern and Western Districts of Texas. She serves as a board member for the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Amanda practices criminal defense because she feels it is the best way to help people in her community and is grateful for the opportunity to help people through a tough time.

Amanda earned her degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2011 and went on to attend St. Mary’s University School of Law, graduating in May of 2016. During her time at St. Mary’s, she was accepted onto the Mock Trial Team where she learned the basics of what it means to be a trial lawyer. She also clerked for the criminal defense firm Goldstein, Goldstein & Hilley, where she was taught how to effectively prepare a case.  When she graduated in 2016 and Donald H. Flanary, III., started the Flanary Law Firm, PLLC, he quickly promoted her from being his long-time law clerk to the first associate attorney in his practice, where she remains today. Amanda served on the TCADP 2019 Annual Conference Committee and joined the Board of Directors in May 2019.


Bob Michael. Bob was born and raised 90 miles north of Dallas in Ardmore, Oklahoma.  Upon graduation from high school, he received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he graduated with a B.S. in 1970 and took a commission as a 2nd LT in his chosen branch of service, the U.S. Marine Corps.  Bob served in a wide variety of assignments at duty stations in the Western Pacific and on both U.S. coasts for the next 6+ years.  While on active duty, Bob completed his Master of Science degree with USC in 1976.  

Bob joined Caterpillar Tractor Co. in Peoria, Illinois, and worked several years in product support operations as a technical field representative before joining his final employer, Darr Equipment Co., the north Texas Caterpillar dealership.   A working career in the “equipment business” at both the manufacturer level and the franchise/dealership level gave Bob the opportunity to participate in a broad range of wholesale and retail challenges along with leadership roles until taking retirement in Carrollton, in 2014.

Post retirement, Bob has been actively involved with a number of “justice issues” and local political campaigns.  As a member of the “Advocates for Justice & Peace” at Holy Covenant United Methodist Church in Carrollton, he firmly believes that those who suffer most are those who have little voice or no voice in legislation, law, societal norms, and they have few advocates. Bob has worked for the past few years in support of TCADP’s North Texas Coordinator initiatives and also served on the 2018 Annual Conference planning committee.

Bob and his wife Anne reside in Carrollton and have two grown children, two grandchildren, and a Golden Doodle.  They enjoy reading, the outdoors, camping and traveling.  Bob joined the TCADP Board in February 2019.