Interview with Scott Atlas

Video 1 of Interview with Scott Atlas

Video 2 of Interview with Scott Atlas

Video 3 of Interview with Scott Atlas

Scott J. Atlas is an attorney in Houston, and graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1975. He was working as a commercial litigation attorney in Houston when he started taking on pro bono cases, most prominently the capital murder case of Ricardo Aldape Guerra (1982 - 1997), which is the focus of this interview. In Tape 1, Atlas offers a brief overview of his educational background; and then describes his year clerking for Thomas Gee, a federal judge on the US Court of Appeals on the Fifth Circuit; his first job in the commercial litigation section of the law firm Vinson & Elkins; his introduction to pro bono work; his first pro bono case in 1977, which he eventually argued before the Supreme Court; and his involvement in the appeals process for Ricardo Aldape Guerra, at the request of the Mexican government. In Tape 2, Atlas elaborates on the events in the Aldape Guerra case, and describes his interactions with the Spanish-language press in the United States and Mexico; the events during the first federal hearing in 1993, which ended with the ordering of a new trial; the events of the second evidentiary hearing in 1995; and the dropping of all charges by the DA's office in Houston soon after. In Tape 2, Atlas also discusses the details of Aldape Guerra's release from death row; post-release events; and his impressions of Aldape Guerra. In Tape 3, Atlas speculates on the reasons behind the police and prosecutor's zeal to convict Aldape Guerra; shares the lessons he's learned from investigating the case; and offers some final thoughts on the death penalty in Texas. This interview took place on January 12, 2011 in an office in Houston, Harris County, Texas.

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