Monday, October 21, 2013

Anthony Graves, Former Death Row Inmate, Creates Scholarship In Name Of Attorney Who Saved His Life

For eight years, Nicole Casarez worked tirelessly to seek justice for death row inmate Anthony Graves. 

The Houston-based attorney and journalism professor knew that Graves had been wrongly imprisoned for murder, and she was determined to see him freed.

Finally, in 2010, after spending 18 years in prison -- 12 on them on death row -- Graves was exonerated, largely thanks to the efforts of Casarez and her students at Houston's University of St. Thomas. Several months later, he was awarded $1.4 million by the Texas Legislature for wrongful incarceration, according to ABC News.

Graves told Texas Monthly's Pamela Colloff that he's been wanting to express his immense gratitude to Casarez -- his "angel" and "sister" -- but hasn't quite known how to go about it.

“I wanted to repay Nicole but I knew she’d never accept money from me,” Graves said. “I thought about giving her an amazing trip somewhere, but I wanted to give her something that would live on.”

Finally, after consulting with Casarez's husband, Graves came up with a plan: He would establish a college scholarship in Casarez's name. 

According to Texas Monthly, Graves surprised the attorney with his token of thanks during a recent dinner party. After the guests arrived, Graves announced the event was taking place in Casarez's honor. He then asked her to step forward:

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Tentatively, she rose from her seat and walked over to Anthony, who handed her a framed certificate. Her jaw dropped when she saw it, and she covered her mouth in surprise. “You’ve been punked!” Anthony said, laughing uproariously. Finally, after he egged her on, she agreed to read the words out loud:
"The University of Texas Law School Foundation Gratefully Acknowledges the


NICOLE B. CÁSAREZ ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP IN LAW

Established in 2013 with a gift from Anthony Graves to honor his defender, friend, sister, and angel, to recognize her and her students’ work to exonerate him from a wrongful conviction, and to encourage others to follow her example of hope, perseverance, courage, and humility."
.............................................................................................................................

Graves confirmed the news on his website this week.
In 2011, Casarez earned the title of Houston's "Best Lawyer" from the Houston Press for her work on Graves' case. She was also recognized as a "Champion of Justice" by the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty that same year.

read more and see the video at--
                                        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anthony-graves-scholarship