Capital Area Private Defender Service

Review Committee Members

Bobby Taylor
Chair

Licensed:  9/1972

Before Bobby Taylor started his own legal practice, he graduated UT Law School and staffed and directed a legal aid group in Austin.  His belief that everyone had a right to good legal representation is a value that has enabled him to accept clients and cases where his own financial benefit was not always assured.

Since starting his own practice, he has focused on providing his clients with great legal representation and the most positive outcome. During his career he has advised and represented clients in in almost every situation. He has won cases in local, State and Federal jurisdictions and even received license to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court.  He has never shied from taking on the powerful and governments to represent those without much.


In addition to the many successful civil rights cases that have brought meaningful change and financial justice to his clients, he spent two decades getting the inmates in Travis County safe and humane living conditions by forcing the county to build a new jail.   The jail, in service since 1932 was declared unconstitutional in 1974 with Bobby Taylor’s representation since 1972 in the suit that started with a hand written petition from prisoner, David Ruiz.


Andrea Keilen

Licensed:  8/2002 (Texas)


Andrea is general counsel for the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA).  She has been in criminal defense practice for 23 years. She started as a public defender in Denver, Colorado, in 1993. Following that, she was a public defender in Phoenix, Arizona, handling only serious felonies, including capital murder cases. She came to Austin, Texas, in 2000 and worked at Texas Defender Service as a staff attorney, the deputy director, and she became the Executive Director in 2006. Most recently, she was an attorney with the Regional Public Defender Office for Capital Cases. She has extensive experience in organizational management and policy reform efforts. She was a lobbyist for the Texas Defender Service from 2001 to 2011 and has worked with numerous agencies, commissions, state and county officials, and stakeholder organizations to improve the criminal justice system and protect the individual rights of those we represent. 


Alberto Garcia

Licensed:  12/1972


Christie Williams

Licensed:  11/1992


A founding partner of the firm Mills and Williams, Christie N. Williams, is one of Texas’ premier trial lawyers. Over the course of a career spanning six years as a Dallas County prosecutor and over 11 years in private practice, she has earned both significant court victories as well as the recognition of her peers in the legal community. Every year since 2003, Texas Monthly has consistently named Ms. Williams a “Texas Super Lawyer.” In addition to being recognized by D Magazine as one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas, the National Law Journal twice named her to their “Top 40 Under 40” list, recognizing the best litigators in the United States.

Board certified in criminal law since 1999, Ms. Williams has extensive experience representing both individuals and corporations. Having tried well over 100 criminal trials in a wide variety of criminal cases, including environmental and healthcare fraud, in many jurisdictions in both state and federal courts.


Gerry Morris

Licensed:  11/1977


Since 1977, Austin, Texas based criminal defense lawyer E. G. "Gerry" Morris has represented individuals accused of state and federal crimes, both in trial and on appeal. He is Board Certified as a Criminal Law Specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and he has been elected by his fellow criminal defense attorneys to leadership positions in both state and national organizations. He served as President of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association during the 1997-98 term, and is the past President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).


Jeanette Kinard

Licensed:  11/1978


Former director of the Travis County Mental Health Public Defender.


Kristen Etter

Licensed:  05/2003


Kristin Etter's background within the federal justice system as an assistant federal public defender makes her unique among private defense attorneys in Central Texas. In her role as a practicing attorney and partner at Sumpter & Gonzalez, she's also defined herself as one of the area's top attorneys in state court. 


Patricia Cummings

Licensed:  11/1991

Patricia Cummings is board certified in both criminal and juvenile law.  She was a lecturer at the University of Texas School of Law's Criminal Defense Clinic for many years.  She has served as general counsel for the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TDCLA) and was notable on the legal team responsible for the exoneration of Michael Morton.  She was recently the chief of the actual innocence division of the Dallas County District Attorney's office.


​Randy Leavitt

Licensed:  11/1980


Randy T. Leavitt has worked extensively as a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, civil litigator, and mediator. He holds a Martindale-Hubbell peer-review rating of AV, the highest possible rating. He has also been honored as a Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly every year since 2003, both as a criminal defense attorney and prosecutor.

Prior to opening his own firm, Randy Leavitt, was a partner at Minton, Burton, Foster & Collins for 20 years and 12 of those years as the Managing Partner. His experience there gained him a reputation as one of the best trial attorneys in Austin. Mr. Leavitt has been involved as counsel in many of Austin's and surrounding counties' most notorious criminal cases.

After leaving Minton, Burton, Foster & Collins, Mr. Leavitt was hired on as a prosecutor as the First Assistant Travis County Attorney. As First Assistant, Mr. Leavitt ran the day to day operations of that office in charge of 75 attorneys and an 11 million dollar budget.

Mr. Leavitt has recently chosen to return to the private sector and concentrates his practice in Criminal and Civil litigation. He has been board certified in Criminal Law since 1987 by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


​Sam Bassett

Licensed:  11/1988


Sam has extensive trial experience in criminal and family law courts throughout Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1988. He has been Board Certified in Criminal Law since 1994. Sam practices primarily criminal and family law. Sam has been voted by his peers to be included in the Best Lawyers In America and Texas Monthly’s Super lawyers publications. He also holds the highest rating possible by Martindale-Hubbel. In 2014, the publication Best Lawyers in America designated Sam as Lawyer of the Year for Austin, Texas in the area of criminal defense.

Sam is licensed in State and Federal court. Sam was appointed by the Governor of Texas to the Texas Forensic Science Commission in 2005, where he served as its Presiding Officer until September, 2009. Sam frequently teaches trial advocacy at continuing education events for attorneys. He also served on the State Bar of Texas Grievance Panel for District 9 from 2004 until 2010, when his term expired as Chair of the Panel. Sam presently serves as President of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.




Capital Area Private Defender Service Review Committee


Our Review Committee is comprised of 3 - 11 highly qualified criminal defense attorneys.  While any member of our Review Committee must have at least 10 years of criminal law experience, the average years in practice is over 32 years with 323 years of combined experience.   This exceptional group of attorney volunteer their time working to ensure defendants receive quality representation in Travis County.  The Review Committee makes all final determinations as to panel status, level of attorney qualification, and individual performance concern.  They also review appeals by attorneys in compensation matters.​