Prisoners’ Rights Attorney
Brian joined the Texas Civil Rights Project in November 2010 to help litigate cases against prisons and jails for issues including excessive force, inadequate medical care, and disability accommodation.
His experience includes federal trials and appeals to the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, such as:
- Blackmon v. Garza, 484 Fed.Appx. 866 (5th Cir. 2012)(setting forth criteria for finding prison officials liable for exposing inmates to life-endangering temperatures)
- Sanchez v. City of Austin, 1:11-cv-00993 (W.D. Tex.) (finding the city’s practice of banning protestors from City Hall for periods up to one year violated the First Amendment)
- Appell v. Llano County, 1:12-cv-1027 (W.D. Tex.) (where mentally ill inmate allowed to beat his head until he died, county agreed to settlement of $217,000 and significant policy changes to avoid future deaths)
Since September 2011, he has also organized TCRP’s Justice for Veterans Campaign.
He is also co-chair of the Austin Lawyers Guild. He founded the ALG’s pro bono referral program to fight the School to Prison Pipeline, which became a recipient of the 2013 Pro Bono Service Award at the Local Bar Leaders Conference. He also help found the National Lawyer Guild’s statewide program “Protect the Vote: Texas.”
Brian has represented clients pro bono in matters including foreclosure, wrongful eviction, and apartment habitation claims. He was recognized for his work with the 2013 Susan P. Burton Award. Further, in conjunction with the Workers Defense Project, he has litigated wage theft cases and created self-help materials for workers using small claims court.
Working with the Poverty Law Section, Brian created “A Primer on Poverty Law in Texas.” During law school he authored the law review articles “The Subversion of Means to Ends: Philosophy of the Extra-Territorial Constitution and Reflections on Boumediene v. Bush” and “In the Face of Danger: A Comparative Analysis of the Use of Emergency Powers in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 20th Century.” He also authors the blog Subpoena Ad Blogum.
Brian believes a lawyer’s duty to address social ills is well-embodied in the epitaph of Chief Justice Earl Warren:
Where there is injustice, we should correct it. Where there is poverty, we should eliminate it. Where there is corruption, we should stamp it out. Where there is violence, we should punish it. Where there is neglect, we should provide care. Where there is war, we should restore peace. And wherever corrections are achieved, we should add them permanently to our storehouse of treasures.