Areas of Practice:

The Law Office of
Parnham & McWilliams

440 Louisiana St. Suite 200
(The Lyric Centre)
Houston, TX 770021
Phone: 713.224.3967
Fax: 713.224.2815

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Criminal Defense Attorney George Parnham

About Criminal Defense Attorney
George Parnham:

Criminal defense attorney George J. Parnham believes the media is often the only way his clients can be heard.

"The standards presently in place are extremely archaic and do nothing for mental illness, and in this case, for women. We have an opportunity in this case to help the mentally ill, particularly those entangled in the justice system." - George Parnham, prior to 2nd trial of Andrea Yates

 

Mr. Parnham has been the lead defense counsel for such high-profile clients as Andrea Yates and Clara Harris.


George Parnham has over thirty-five years experience as a practicing attorney. He is Board Certified in the area of Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. His practice entails every aspect of the law where citizens find themselves accused of a crime. This firm handles offenses charged by both the State and Federal Court systems, not only within the State of Texas, but out of state jurisdictions as well. The firm's experience ranges from simple to complex litigation.

As defense attorney for some highly visible clients, George Parnham has unintentionally created an equally high profile for himself and his firm. This isn't an altogether comfortable role for the soft-spoken attorney.

"We believe that just as we have enjoyed the benefits of living in our community, and in our Country, we have an obligation to give something in return ... I can't say I ever enjoy facing a phalanx of cameras," Parnham explains. "I do it because the media is often the only way my clients can be heard. Sometimes their stories, and the crimes with which they have been charged, are so painful and complicated that the average person cannot begin to grasp the real issues of the case in the sterile and hyper-controlled environment of the courtroom. Speaking to the media at the end of a long day is sometimes our only hope that the community will understand the real issues involved in my cases. These are important things which affect all of society. My own notoriety is only incidental to the process."

No one would argue that Parnham is totally committed to ensuring that his clients are heard and, to whatever extent possible, understood. In instances where misrepresentation or misstatement about the factual circumstances of an accusation have been, intentionally, or not leaked to the public, it is imperative to "set the record straight" and do whatever can be done to level the playing field of public opinion.

Mr. Parnham initiated the Yates Children Memorial Fund. The Yates Children Memorial Fund (YCMF) is named after Russell and Andrea Yates' children: Noah, John, Paul, Luke and Mary. It was created June, 2002, and sponsored by the Mental Health Association of Greater Houston (MHA Houston) to fund women's mental health education. Knowledge and understanding is the key to prevention. It is our sincere desire that the lives of these children will be forever memorialized through this effort.

440 Louisiana St. Suite 200
(The Lyric Centre)
Houston, TX. 770021
Phone: (713) 224-3967
Fax: (713) 224-2815


Date of Birth: November 23, 1940
Place of Birth: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Undergraduate Education:
Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana
B.S. - Secondary Education - 1963

Graduate Education:
University of Texas School of Law Austin, Texas
Doctorate of Jurisprudence - 1970

Military Service: 1st Lieutenant - United States Army 1964 - 1966

Licensure: State Bar of Texas
Bar Card # 15532000

Licensed to practice law by the State Bar of New York

Certification:
Board Certified in Criminal Law
Texas Board of Legal Specialization 1983 - Present

Awards:
Recipient of Attorney of the Year Award, presented by the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, June, 2002.

Recipient of the Clarence Darrow Award , presented by the Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association , August 29, 2006.       

Recipient of the Charley Shannon Advocate for Justice Award, presented by NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill), Austin, Texas, October 16, 2006. 

Recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Public Contribution to Psychology Award, presented by the Texas Psychological Association, Dallas, Texas, November 17, 2006.

Recipient of the Jefferson Award, presented by KPRC Local Channel 2,  Houston, Texas, May, 2007.

Recipient of the Spirit of Hope Award, presented by Mental Health America, Houston, Texas, 2010, for work in the area of Women’s Mental Health.



Professional Organizations:
American Bar Association
State Bar of Texas
Houston Bar Association
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Fort Bend County Criminal Defense Attorneys Association
Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
President (1995 - 1996)

Court Affiliations:
United States Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals
United States District Court
Fifth Circuit
Northern District of Texas
Southern District of Texas
Eastern District of Texas
Texas Supreme Court

Law Practice:
Pettigrew and Buckley Associate, Dallas, Texas 1969

Woody & Rosen Associate, Houston, Texas 1970

Parnham & Associates
Sole Practitioner 1971 - Present

Invited Lectures, Presentations, and Seminars:


Presentation:   Western Trial Advocacy Institute, Keynote Speaker,  Laramie, Wyoming, July 11, 2002.

Panel Presentation:   National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Annual Meeting & Seminar, “Warriors for the Defense - New Strategies for Difficult Times,” “Psychotic Defendant: The Andrea Yates Case,” San Francisco, California, July 31 – August 3, 2002.

Presentation:  National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers Annual Meeting & Seminar, “Psychotic Defendant – The Andrea Yates Case,” San Francisco, California, August 2, 2002.

Presentation:    Federal Public Defender 17th Annual Staff Conference and Seminar, “Criminal Defense – The Cutting Edge,” “Mental Illness and the Unthinkable – The Andrea Yates Case,” Houston, Texas, August 23-24, 2002.

Panel DiscussionNational Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Texas 2002 Convention, “A Dialogue for Changing Times: NAMI Texas’ Link to the Future,” “Mental Illness and Death Penalty Law,”Austin, Texas, September 6-7, 2002.

SeminarHarris County Criminal District Judges, “Mental Illness and the Criminal Defendant,” and “Incompetency and Insanity in the Yates Trial,” Houston, Texas, September 13, 2002.

LectureHouston Association of Legal Secretaries, “Criminal Law & Procedure,” Houston, Texas, October 5, 2002.

Panel DiscussionAmerican Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Annual Meeting, “The Andrea Yates Trial Panel,” Newport Beach, California, October 24-27, 2002.

Panel Discussion:  Texas Psychological Association’s 2002 Annual Convention, “Healing Trauma: Mental Health Providers Serving Families, Schools, and Communities,” and “The Insanity Defense in Texas: Time to Change?” San Antonio, Texas, November 14-16, 2002.

PresentationInns of Court, “The Andrea Yates Case: Insanity and the Law,” Houston, Texas, March 4, 2003.

LectureUniversity of Houston Law School, “Law and Society Classes,” Houston, Texas, April 8, 2003.

LectureUniversity of Texas Law School, Austin, Texas, April 22, 2003.

Presentation Louisiana Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Annual “Law & All That Jazz” Seminar, “The Andrea Yates Case: Mothers Who Kill Their Children and the Husband Who Sides with His Wife,”  New Orleans, Louisiana, April 25, 2003.

Presentation   Children’s Safe Harbor, The Montgomery County Children’s Advocacy Center, Inc., “Our Children, Our Future,” Strengthening and Enhancing the Multi-disciplinary Approach to Child Abuse,” Conroe, Texas, June 19, 2003.

Presentation17th Annual Postpartum Support International Conference in sponsorship with Columbia University College of Physicians and Children, “Perinatal Mental Health: Communities Making a Difference – Providing for the Health and Safety of Families Worldwide,” “Andrea Pia Yates – The Tragedy: Lessons Learned and Unlearned: The Inadequacies in the Law,” - New York, New York, June 27-28, 2003.

 Presentation:    American Academy of Forensic Sciences.  – Dallas, Texas, February 17, 2004.

Presentation Capital Trial Advocacy – The Defense – “Lecture on Closing Argument (Merits Phase),” Plano, Texas, April 21, 2004.

Presentation:    21st Annual Adult Protective Services Conference, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, San Antonio, Texas, November 5, 2004.

Presentation:    Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Distinguished Lecture Series, “Developing and Presenting Psychiatric Defenses – Part I,” Houston, Texas, March, 29, 2005.

Keynote Speaker:      DePelchin Children’s Center, Houston, Texas, April 7, 2005.

Presentation  Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Distinguished Lecture Series, “Developing and Presenting Psychiatric Defenses – Part II – The Dr. Clara Harris Trial,” Houston, Texas, October 18, 2005.

Presentation:    Houston Bar Association, 2005 Experts Institute, “Expert Witnesses,” Houston, Texas, October 28, 2005.

Presentation:    University of West Florida, Continuing Medical Education Seminar, “The Andrea Yates Case,” Pensacola, Florida, November 17 and 18, 2005.
                                   
Lecture:  University of Texas Law School, Austin, Texas, February 9, 2006.

Commentary:  MSNBC News regarding the hunting accident involving Vice President Dick Chaney, February 17, 2006.

Presentation:  Houston Heights Rotary Club Luncheon, “Through the Eyes of the Children,” March 1, 2006.

Presentation:    University of Florida, “Gender, Mental Health and the Law:  The Andrea Yates Case,” Gainesville, Florida, March 22, 2006.

PresentationThe Whitehall Club, “The Insanity Defense,” Houston, Texas, April 21, 2006.

PresentationThe Pasadena Rotary Club, “Through the Eyes of the Children,” Pasadena, Texas, May 26, 2006.

Presentation:   The Windsor Club, “Through the Eyes of the Children,” Houston, Texas, August 24, 2006.

Presentation:   Association of Private Investigators, “The Insanity Defense, Beyond the Andrea Yates Verdict,” San Antonio, Texas, August 25, 2006.

Presentation:  Christian Leadership Speaker Series, Concordia University, “Advocating for the Underdog,” Austin, Texas, September 12, 2006. 

Presentation:  Oklahoma Mental Health Consumer Council, “In Defense of Andrea Yates,” Oklahoma City, OK, October 5, 2006.

Presentation:  Capacity for Justice, “Mental Health in the Courtroom – Legal Requirements for Sanity Experts”, “Presenting the Insanity Defense in a Trial”, Rusk, Texas, October 28, 2006.

Presentation:  Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, “In Defense of Andrea Yates”, Corpus Christi, Texas, November 3, 2006. 

Presentation:    Mental Health Association of Greater Houston, “Beyond the Andrea Yates Verdict:  Women’s Mental Health and the Law,” Houston, Texas, November 11, 2006.

Presentation:  Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, 27th Annual Prairie Dog Seminar, “Innocence Can Take Many Forms,” Lubbock, Texas, January 5, 2007.

Presentation:  The South Carolina Bar Association, 22nd Annual Criminal Law Update Seminar, “Beyond the Andrea Yates Verdict: Mental Health and the Law,” Charleston, South Carolina, January 26, 2007.

Presentation:  Idaho Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, World Class Defenders, “The Defense of Andrea Yates – The Verdict’s Impact,” Sun Valley, Idaho, February 23, 2007.

Presentation:  National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Capital Defense Training Program Conference, “The Cases of Andrea Pia Yates, Mental Health, the Family, and the Law,” Dallas, Texas, March 12, 2007.

Presentation:  Office of Defender Services of the United States Courts, National Seminar on the Development and Integration of Mitigation Evidence, “The Humanization of Andrea Pia Yates,” Washington, D.C., March 29, 2007.

Presentation:  Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 17th Annual Law and All That Jazz Seminar, “In Defense of Andrea Yates – The Verdict’s Impact,” New Orleans, Louisiana, April 29, 2007.

Presentation:  South Texas College of Law’s Just Ethics CLE Seminar, “Controlling Media Publicity for a Client in Crisis,” Houston, Texas, May 9, 2007.

Presentation:  Florida Association for Infant Mental Health, Seventh Annual Conference, “The Andrea Pia Yates Case: Postpartum Depression and the Inanity Plea – the Humanization of Andrea Yates – To Understand is to Prevent,” Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, May 17, 2007.

Presentation:  Rotary Club of Houston Luncheon, “In Defense of Andrea Yates – The Verdict’s Impact,” Houston, Texas, May 31, 2007.

Presentation:  Texas Hospital Association Annual Psychiatric Services Conference, “The Aftermath of the Andrea Yates Verdict – An Update of Mental Health in the Criminal Justice System,” San Antonio, Texas, July 16, 2007.

Presentation: National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Winning the Battle of Experts, “Expert Insanity:  Learning from the Andrea Yates Story and Others,” San Francisco, California, August 2, 2007.

Presentation: Crisis Intervention Team of the Houston Police Department, Training Classes, “The Legal Humanization of Andrea Pia Yates,” Houston, Texas, August 1 and September 19, 2007.

Presentation:   Texas Health Law Conference, Health Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, and the Texas Hospital Association, “The Legal Humanization of Andrea Yates,” Austin, Texas, October 1, 2007.

Presentation: Texas Women’s Health Foundation First Annual Conference, “The Andrea Yates Case – Mental Health and the Law,” Parkland Hospital, Dallas, Texas, December 1, 2007.

Presentation:  Winnipeg Public Defenders Office, Legal Aid Foundation Annual Seminar, “The Legal Humanization of Andrea Pia Yates,” Winnipeg, Canada, December 7, 2007.

Presentation:  Mental Health In the Courtroom, Capacity for Justice Seminar, “State Legal Requirements & Practicalities for Expert Testimony” and “Legal Requirement & Practicalities for Expert Testimony – Incorporation of Psychiatry & Psychology,” Austin, Texas, May 2, 2008.

Presentation:  2008 Joining Together: Changes and Challenges in Child Maltreatment, Canadian Society for the Investigation of Child Abuse, “The Legal Humanization of Andrea Pia Yates” and “Expert Insanity: Learning from the Andrea Yates’ Story and Others,” Calgary, Canada, May  13, 2008.

Presentation:  22nd Annual Postpartum Support International Conference, Postpartum Support International/Yates Children Memorial Fund,  “Postpartum Mental Illness and the Jury System,” Houston, Texas, June 7, 2008.

Presentation:  The Center for American and International Law, “Expert Witnesses in Capital Cases” Plano, Texas, August 22, 2008.

Presentation:  Twelfth Annual Eastern District Bench/Bar Conference, “Insanity and the Craziness of Expert Testimony”, Galveston, Texas, October 16, 2008.

Presentation:  Jennifer Mudd Houghtaling Perinatal Depression Conference, presented by Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, “The Legal Humanization of Andrea Yates”, Chicago, Illinois, October 17, 2008.

Presentation:  Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 22nd Annual Meeting, “Representing the Mentally Ill – A defense Lawyer’s Search for Justice”, St. Petersburg, Florida, June 5, 2009.

Presentation:  Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Death Penalty Seminar, “Team Work in a Death Penalty Case”, Marksville, Louisiana, July 24, 2009.

Presentation:  State Bar of Texas, Understanding Juries: A Mock Trial and More, “Behind Closed Doors: A Look into the Jury Decision-Making in the Andrea Yates Trial”, San Antonio, Texas, July 28, 2009.

Presentation:  Postpartum Support International and the Perinatal Mental Health Taskforce, 23rd Annual Conference, Keynote Address, Los Angeles, California, August 6, 2009.

Presentation:  Advocate Christ Medical Center, Perinatal Mood Disorders Conference, September 30, 2009, Chicago, Illinois.

Presentation:  University of Houston School of Law, “Criminal Law Presentation – Trial Preparation and More”, Houston, Texas, July 8, 2010.

Presentation:  Houston Association of Legal Professionals, Annual Luncheon and Presentation, Keynote Speaker, September 11, 2010.

Presentation:  South Texas College of Law, “Insanity Defense, Sudden Passion and Self-Defense”, Houston, Texas, March 23, 2011.

Presentation:  Justice and Peace Council, “Criminal Law and Justice”, Houston, Texas, March 31, 2011.

Presentation:  National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Ft. Bend Chapter, “Criminal Law and the Insanity Defense”, Richmond, Texas, May 5, 2011.

Presentation:  24th Annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, “Defending the Mentally Ill”, San Antonio, Texas, June 9, 2011.



Publications:
Parnham, George J., with Shefman, Daucie Elana. "A Review of the Traditional Tests for the Insanity Defense:
Psychotic Defendant - The Andrea Pia Yates Case," 2002.

Parnham, George J., "Cameras in the Courtroom Whenever Possible," Media and the Law, Texas Bar Journal, October, 2004.

Parnham, George J., and Yates, Terry W., “Expert Witnesses,” 2005.

Television Appearances:
ABC Primetime with Diane Sawyer - "The Gladiators: Defending Clara Harris"
March 16, 2003

Interviewed or appeared as consultant on:
American Justice, CNN - American Morning, At Large with Geraldo Rivera,
Catherine Crier Live on Court TV, Dateline, CBS - The Early Show,
FOX & Friends, FOX News Network, German Television Network, ABC - Good Morning America, NBC - The Today Show,
On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,
The O'Reilly Factor,
The Paula Zahn Show,
and many local network affiliates.

Consulting Expert:
The Houston Chronicle - O.J. Simpson Trial

Committee Responsibilities:
Harris County Judicial Mental Health Task Force

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
Mental Health Committee (2005 – 2009)

Yates Children Memorial Fund (YCMF)
Board of Directors,
Mental Health America (MHA) of Greater Houston

Postpartum Support International
President’s Advocacy Board


Charitable Affiliations:

Arbor School Houston, Texas
Houston Area Women's Center Houston, Texas
Yates Children Memorial Fund
The Mental Health Association of Greater Houston, Houston, Texas
Founder of the Yates Children Memorial Fund (YCMF)