Death row exoneree, lawyer who helped free him to speak at Nov. 10 Scientia


David Ruth

Death row exoneree, lawyer who helped free him to speak at Nov. 10 Scientia

HOUSTON – (Oct. 30, 2015) – Anthony Graves spent more than 18 years in prison — 16 of them in solitary confinement and 12 on death row — for a crime he did not commit. Nicole Casarez, an attorney and journalism professor at the University of St. Thomas, worked for eight years with her journalism students to help exonerate Graves.

Anthony Graves

Anthony Graves

Both Graves and Casarez will be the featured speakers at Rice University’s Scientia lecture, scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 10 in Duncan Hall’s McMurtry Auditorium.

Casarez will speak on “Inequality and the Criminal Justice System,” and Graves, founder of the Anthony Graves Foundation, will speak on “Professional Ethics.” Professor of Psychology James Pomerantz will moderate the discussion.

In 1994 Graves was convicted of the murder of Bobbie Davis, her daughter and her four grandchildren in Sommerville, Texas. Six years later, the man who had implicated Graves confessed to lying and to being the sole murderer; he was executed. However, Graves’ conviction was not overturned for another six years. It was yet another four years before he was proclaimed unequivocally innocent and released from prison in 2010. Earlier this year the former district attorney who prosecuted Graves was disbarred by the State Bar of Texas for withholding evidence and using false testimony during Graves’ trial.

Today Graves is a sought-after speaker on ethics at universities and organizations and a prominent activist with the American Civil Liberties Union. He testified at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Hearing on Solitary Confinement led by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Graves’ story has been featured in Texas Monthly and on CBS News’ “48-hours.”

The Nov. 10 Scientia lecture is a continuation of the fall lecture series’ theme on inequality. A reception will follow the lecture, and the talk is free and open to the public.

For more information on Scientia, including upcoming lectures, visit


Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6.3-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go here.


About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.