Judge Birmingham presided over a murder trial his first week on the job. It would be the first trial of approximately 100 he’s heard since, none of which have been overturned on appeal. During his first term, he was honored by the Dallas County Felony Judiciary by being appointed as the Presiding Judge of all the Felony District Courts.
He loves trial work, having studied and practiced it both as a judge and a prosecutor for nearly 20 years. His trial experience as lead counsel includes Capital murder, Cold Cases, Sexual Assault, Child abuse, and Intoxication Manslaughter.
His experience in the Courtroom came at a time when the criminal justice system was confronted with the systemic flaws that caused Dallas County to lead the nation in exonerations. Judge Birmingham tried two cases in which DNA evidence exonerated two men, James Curtis Williams and Raymond Jackson, and revealed the true identity of the perpetrators, Marion Doll Sayles and Frederick Anderson. The Dallas County Exonerations have indelibly imprinted Judge Birmingham’s view of our Criminal Justice System.
In addition to trying cases, Judge Birmingham loves to teach. Since 2007, he has taught over 50 hours of Continuing Legal Education to Judges, criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors and police officers locally and nationally. He is also a former member of the Texas Bar College because of his significant voluntary participation in legal education and service to the legal profession. He is a visiting professor at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law where he teaches an upper level class called “Circumstantial Evidence in Murder Trials.”
He released a Podcast in the Fall of 2018 called “A Murderous Design.” The show looks at famous old trials with North Texas ties, and includes interviews with people directly involved in those trials. In the Spring of 2019, he released a podcast on the Jack Ruby Trial in conjunction with the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. The podcast was a follow up to his presentation at the Museum in September of 2017. He is currently working on Season two of “A Murderous Design.” Throughout his career, he has been asked to educate the public about various criminal cases involving the death penalty and death in police custody, and is a weekly commentator on the Law and Crime Network.
Judge Birmingham also presides over two “Specialty Courts.” Though these two courts serve different offender populations, they share a common purpose: providing creatively innovative long-term solutions to criminal behavior.
In 2015, he partnered with then-Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk to create a unique second chance program called A.I.M. Court to address the problem of mass incarceration by offering an innovative curriculum to address the root causes of the offenders conduct. Once completed, the indictments are dismissed, and the DA will agree to an immediate expunction thereby allowing the participant to be free from a lifetime felony conviction. The program started small, but has grown and now includes approximately 60 participants, having graduated approximately 70. That’s 70 lives free from felony convictions, and over 1,300 years in prison time avoided.
Judge Birmingham’s other specialty court is the Felony Domestic Violence Court. Created in 2014 by Judge Rick Magnis and Dr. Jill Johansson-Love, the Court is committed to protecting the victims of intimate partner domestic violence by eliminating abusive behavior patterns of offenders. In addition to working with prosecutors, public defenders, and the felony probation department, the Court also uniquely involves community stakeholders Genesis Women’s Shelter and The Family Place. Approximately 60 men have graduated the program since Judge Birmingham took it over in 2016.
He grew up in Carrollton, Texas, and is a graduate of R. L. Turner High school. As the Captain of the Baylor Men’s Tennis Team, he graduated as a student-athlete before attending and graduating from South Texas College of Law. Before joining the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office in 2002, he was an intern for Chief Justice Michael Schneider at the First District Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas. He is in his second term as the presiding judge of the 292nd Judicial District Court in Dallas County, Texas. He continues to teach CLE and at SMU, and is in the process of writing a treatise on criminal evidence.
He met Carrie, the love of his life, on July 20, 1995, and they have been together ever since. They live with their two children in the Carrollton. He enjoys playing tennis, basketball, guitar, and drums.