Margaret Schmucker ’94 featured in “The State of Texas vs. Melissa,” a documentary about death row inmate Melissa Lucio

Apr 20, 2021

Margaret Schmucker ’94, an appellate attorney whose practice is based in Austin, Texas,  is featured in “The State of Texas vs. Melissa,” a documentary written and directed by French filmmaker Sabrina Van Tassel. The documentary chronicles the case of Melissa Lucio, who became the first Hispanic woman to be sentenced to death in the state of Texas. The documentary is now streaming on Hulu.

Lucio’s conviction for the abuse and subsequent death of her two-year-old daughter was overturned in July 2019 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, but the state of Texas immediately appealed that ruling. In February 2021 the 2019 grant of relief was reversed.

Schmucker worked on the Lucio case for more than 10 years. Before opening her practice in Austin, she spent more than a decade in public service, serving first as a clerk with Judge Sheila M. O’Brien of the Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial District, and then in the Postconviction Litigation Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, where she served under both John Cornyn, now the senior U.S. senator for Texas, and Greg Abbott ’84, now the state’s governor.


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