Charles F. "Charlie" Baird, J.D., LLM.

Charlie Baird retired from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the 299th Criminal District Court in Travis County to return to the private practice of law. Charlie earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from South Texas College of Law and his Master of Law in Judicial Process from the University of Virginia. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

In his years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - the state’s highest criminal court - Charlie consistently wrote more opinions annually than any other judge, and pushed the majority to address specific points of law through the crafting of strong and detailed dissenting opinions - often doing so even in instances where the majority would have preferred to avoid the case altogether.

After leaving the Court of Criminal Appeals, Charlie served as a visiting justice on the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Texas Courts of Appeals and as a visiting judge on the criminal trial benches in Travis County. In addition, he was a visiting professor at Texas Tech University School of Law, Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, and his alma mater, South Texas College of Law,  where he twice received the Student Bar Association’s Professor Excellence Award. Charlie taught criminal law and procedure, criminal trial advocacy, capital punishment, and appellate and post-conviction remedies. And, while at Texas Tech, he supervised the students in the West Texas Innocence Project.

In 2006, Charlie was elected as Judge of the 299th Criminal District Court in Travis County. During his tenure as a trial court judge, he presided over a number of important cases, including the exoneration of Tim Cole. The Cole case marked the first time in Texas history where an individual was posthumously exonerated.

In 2011, Charlie joined the Fowler Law Firm as Chair of its Criminal Law section.

On October 1, 2012 Charlie & Amber Farrelly established Baird☆Farrelly Criminal Defense.

Charlie has been recognized by many organizations for his work as a judge and community leader. His awards include an award for judicial service from the Austin Chapter of the NAACP, the Courage Award from the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and the Civil Libertarian Award from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Charlie is a warrior for his clients and a tireless defender of the Constitution. Charlie is fond of the following quote from Earl Warren:  “I believe the preservation of our civil liberties to be the most fundamental and important of all our governmental problems because…if we ever permit these liberties to be destroyed, there will be nothing left in our system worthy of preservation. They constitute the soul of democracy…” 

Charlie and his wife have two children and reside in Austin.

 
Amber D. Farrelly, J.D., B.A., BEI Advanced & Court Inte
rpreter Certified

Amber D. Farrelly received her undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma at Norman and her Juris Doctorate degree from Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law with the highest distinction for her pro bono work.  Amber began her legal career clerking for both defense teams in the Yogurt Shop Murders shortly after their reversals in 2007 until both cases were dismissed in 2009.  She began practicing as a criminal defense attorney in 2009, and has worked with the Innocence Project of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project.

Amber is licensed in and practices throughout the state of Texas.  Amber specializes in Deaf clientele and is a certified interpreter in American Sign Language (ASL).  Working with the Conviction Integrity Unit in Dallas County, she testified as an expert witness on ASL and Deaf culture in the Stephen Brodie exoneration case—the only Deaf person exonerated in the United States.  She has consulted on numerous cases involving Deaf individuals as an expert.

Amber is president of the Texas School for the Deaf Foundation Board and a director for the DeafBlind Service Center of Austin.  She is dedicated to and an advocate for the Deaf.

She was named Travis County Woman Lawyer of the Year for 2012.  She is a member of the American Bar Association, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Travis County Women’s Law Association, Austin Interpreters for the Deaf, and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

She has given numerous presentations for Travis County Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Austin Interpreters for the Deaf, the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the Texas Society of Interpreters for the Deaf State Conference.  She has also been a guest on Legal Broadcast Network.