800-226-6465 210-226-1463

Cynthia Eva Hujar Orr

Attorney Cynthia Orr
Cynthia E. Hujar Orr Office: 210-226-1463 Fax: 210-226-8367
Assistant - Marissa Najera
Board Certified in Criminal Law and Criminal Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Cynthia Orr is Board Certified in both Criminal Law and Criminal Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Cynthia Eva Hujar Orr has attained national prominence defending citizens and entities in state and federal trial and appellate courts. She has earned the profound respect of her colleagues who elected her to Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Criminal Justice Section in 2014. Cynthia served as President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers from 2009-2010, President of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in 2003, and was a founding member and the first President of the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, elected in 1999. She currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit.

In the local community, Cynthia is a member of the San Antonio Bar Association and the SABA Federal Courts Committee, and Co-chair of the Criminal Law Subcommittee. Downtown Rotary Club and chair of the San Antonio Bar Association’s Federal Courts Committee - Criminal Law Subcommittee. She is a member of the Downtown Rotary Club and the San Antonio Greater Chamber of Commerce. Cynthia is an inductee into the San Antonio Woman’s Hall of Fame. She is co- founder of the Texas Innocence Network, the San Antonio Minority Business Accelerator and the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Women’s Opportunity Week.

Cynthia is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and is listed as the Best 100 Trial Lawyers in Texas by The National Trial Lawyers. She has an AV rating by Martindale Hubbell.

Cynthia obtained the first confession of error by the State of Texas in a death penalty case. She was counsel on the Amicus brief in CNN vs. General Manuel Noriega before the United States Supreme Court where she successfully defended this unpopular defendant’s attorney-client privilege. She is most active advocating criminal justice reforms.

A 1979 undergraduate of the University of Texas at Austin and 1988 graduate of St. Mary’s University Law School, Cynthia began her career clerking for Fifth Circuit Judge Emilio Garza when he was on the District Court bench in San Antonio, Texas. She is proficient in trial, appeals, writs of habeas corpus, petitions for discretionary review, writs of certiorari, mandamus, prohibition and corum nobis. Her breadth of experience with each vehicle compliments the others, making her a strong and experienced advocate.


Detailed Biography - Table of Contents


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Photos of Cynthia Orr's Honors and Awards

NACDL - Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award

NACDL - Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award 2003-2004

TCDLA - President

TCDLA - President 2003-2004

NACDL - Spirit of Justice Award

TCDLA - Spirit of Justice Award 2012

TCDLA - President's Award

TCDLA - President's Award 2000

San Antonio Bar Association - President's Award

San Antonio Bar Association - President's Award 2010

San Antonio Womens' Hall of Fame

San Antonio Womens' Hall of Fame 2006

SACDLA - President

SACDLA - President 1998-1999

NACDL - President

NACDL - President 2009-2010

See More Photos of Cynthia Orr's Honors and Awards

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Cynthia Orr's Leadership Roles

American Bar Association - Criminal Justice Section National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association

Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Criminal Justice Section.

Past President (2009-2010) of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).

Past President (2003) of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA).

Founding Member and first President (1999) of the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (SACDLA).


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Areas of Practice

Some of her past clients have been under investigation for the following types of charges:

  • antitrust;
  • money laundering;
  • RICO (Racketeering in Corrupt Organizations);
  • economic espionage;
  • a wide variety of fraud cases (including foreign bank fraud, bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, insurance fraud, healthcare fraud, tax fraud, securities fraud, computer and internet fraud, credit card fraud, phone and telemarketing fraud, mail fraud, government fraud, financial fraud);
  • Bank Secrecy Act violations;
  • money transfer business violations;
  • tax evasion;
  • economic and cyber-crime violations;
  • campaign contribution and election code violations;
  • public corruption;
  • insider trading;
  • bribery;
  • kickbacks;
  • counterfeiting;
  • embezzlement;
  • trade secret theft;
  • ITAR;
  • EAR and munitions violations;
  • environmental violations; and
  • import or export offenses and forfeiture.

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Credentials and Experience

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1989
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Texas, 1989
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, 1990
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1990
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas, 1991
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas, 1991
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 1992
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1992
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1996
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 2004

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Education

  • St. Mary’s University School of Law, San Antonio, Texas, 1988 J.D.
  • University of Texas, Austin, Texas, 1979 B.B.A. Baylor University, Waco, Texas

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Fraternities/Sororities

Delta Gamma Phi Alpha Delt


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Honors and Awards

  • Texas Super Lawyers, Texas Monthly, 2003 – Present
  • Won First Confession of Error in a Capital Murder Case in TX, 2000
  • Inducted into the San Antonio Womans Hall of Fame, 2006
  • Best Lawyers in America White Collar Crime & Appellate, 2006 – 2009
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Texas, American Association for Justice, 2007 – Present
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2005 – 2010
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Presidential Award, 1994 – 1998, 2000-2001, 2003, 2012
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Presidential Award, 2000 – 2001
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Presidential Award, 2003
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Board Resolution re: Cynthia Hujar Orr’s contribution to justice in the United States, July 31, 2009
  • Presidential Recognition by National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 1999 – 2004, 2007-2008
  • San Antonio Bar Association Presidential Award, 1998
  • San Antonio Bar Association Presidential Award “Outstanding Service”, 2010
  • San Antonio Business Journal: Women’s Leadership Award for Mentoring, 2009
  • Featured in Texas Monthly Chosen as a Texas Super Lawyer by Peers, 2003 – 2010
  • Featured in Scene in SA Monthly Chosen as One of the Best Lawyers in San Antonio by Peers, 2004 – Present
  • AV Rated by Martindale-Hubble, 2006 – Present
  • Recipient of the first Minuteman Strike Force Award by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, 2012
  • Recipient of the first Spirit of Justice Award by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, 2012

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Professional Associations and Memberships

  • San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Founder, Past President
    • Co-Chair, Federal Courts Committee - Criminal Law Subcommittee, 1999-Present
  • The San Antonio Greater Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors
  • American Bar Association, 1988 – Present
    • Chair, Criminal Justice Section, 2014
    • Criminal Justice Committee Section 2001 - Present
    • Diversity Officer, Criminal Justice Section, 2014
    • Prosecution and Defense Standards Taskforce for Rewriting the Standards (2006-Present)
    • Standards Committee, 2006 - Present
    • Vice Chair-at-Large, Criminal Justice Section, 2010 - Present
    • Representative, House of Delegates, 2011 - Present
    • Co-Executive Director, White Collar Crime Division, 2013 - 2014
    • Co-Chair, Defense Functions / Services Committee, 2003 - 2009
    • Defense Functions/Services Committee Liaison to Criminal Justice Section Ad Hoc Innocence Committee to Ensure the Integrity of the Criminal Process, 2002-2008
  • San Antonio Bar Association Co Chair, Criminal Law of the Federal Court
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, President 2003 - 2004
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 1988 - Present
    • President, 2009 - 2010
    • Board of Directors, 1999 - 2005
  • William S. Sessions American Inn of Court, 2001 - Present
  • Texas Innocence Network, Co-Founder, 2000

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Specialty Certifications

  • Board Certified, Criminal Law, 1994, Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • Board Certified, Criminal Appellate Law, 2011, Texas Board of Legal Specialization

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Published Works

  • The State of Criminal Justice, American Bar Association, 2009
  • The State of Criminal Justice, American Bar Association, 2008
  • The ABA Criminal Justice Standards for the Defense and Prosecution Function, American Bar Association, 2009
  • Lost Power, Texas Lawyer, December 22, 2003
  • Defending the Right to Defend, July/August, 2003
  • After All, We Are Professionals, September, 2003
  • The High Court Should Strike Down Laws Effecting a Power Grab by the Attorney General, October, 2003
  • Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?, November, 2003
  • We Don’t Need No Stink’n Privilege, December, 2003
  • The “War on Drugs” and Other Follies, January/February, 2004
  • Where Is The Court Going With the Fourth Amendment? Search Me…, April, 2004
  • We Take No Note of Time But From Its Loss, May, 2004
  • Evolving Standards of Decency: Support for the Death Penalty Is Waning and Habeas, Federal Court Review of New Evidence Procedurally Barred As An Abuse, Court of Criminal Appeals, June, 2004
  • Achieving Justice: Freeing the Innocent, Convicting the Guilty, Report of the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s Ad Hoc Innocence Committee to Ensure the Integrity of the Criminal Process

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Presentations / Lectures

The Post-Postville Conference, September 18, 2008, Kansas City, MO (attachment is OrrAndradePPT.pdf); Topic: Ethical Considerations Governing Multiple Representations, sponsored by The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, The American Immigration Lawyers Association, The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project and the Federal Public Defender for the District of Kansas City, Mo.

Defending Drug Cases Seminar, November 13-14, 2008, Houston, TX (attachment is Forfeiture.pdf); Topic: Forfeiture, sponsored by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Defense Champions at Battle: Charging the Line, August 22-23, 2008, Nashville, TN (attachment is closing.arguments.pdf); Topic: Closing: It is YOUR Battlefield, YOUR Win, sponsored by the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


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Lecturer for

  • American Bar Association
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • North Dakota Defense Lawyers Association
  • Louisiana Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Nevada Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Federal Public Defenders in Texas and California
  • National Association of Women Lawyers
  • CJA Panel Training for Federal Public Defenders
  • Texas State Bar Advanced Criminal Law Course
  • San Antonio Bar Association
  • San Antonio CPA Society
  • Hays County Bar Association
  • Nueces County Bar Association
  • Hidalgo County Bar Association
  • San Antonio Paralegal Association
  • Bexar County Women’s Bar Association

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Topics for Speeches

  • Discovery, Brady and the Michael Morton Act
  • U.S. Supreme Court Update
  • Innocence Project and Post-Conviction Habeas
  • Ethical Considerations Governing Multiple Representations
  • War in the Courtroom: State v. Pierce & Its Lessons for All Lawyers (State and Federal)
  • Forfeiture
  • Closing: It is YOUR Battlefield, YOUR Win
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Advising Business Clients: Avoiding Becoming a Co-Conspirator
  • Federal Defenses
  • Technology in the Courtroom
  • There is Nothing Sexy Under Those Lab Coats: The Emperor has no Hard Science
  • Unpatriotic Acts
  • Criminal Justice After 9/11: How the Rules Have Changed
  • The Law of Voir Dire
  • Pre-trial Motions, Discovery
  • How to Spot a Sham
  • Spotting Junk Science and Bad Experts
  • Expert Witnesses
  • Confessions
  • 100 Exonerations
  • Preservation of Error
  • The Patriot Act
  • Ethics and the Death Penalty
  • Federal and State Writs of Habeas Corpus
  • Search and Seizure
  • Search and Seizure in White Collar Cases
  • Why We Do What We Do

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Sworn Testimonies


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Outstanding Achievements

  • Obtained the first Confession of Error by the State of Texas in a death penalty case, Miguel Angel Martinez vs. Gary Johnson, No. L-98-37 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Laredo Division, underlying case – State of Texas vs. Miguel Angel Martinez, Cause No. K-91-294-D3 in the 341st Judicial District Court, Webb County, Laredo, Texas.

  • Successful before the U.S. Supreme Court with regards to money laundering in Moreno -Gonzalez vs. U.S., No. 07-400 (2008).

  • Practice primarily devoted to defending citizens accused of crime in State and Federal Trial and Appellate Courts (90% of practice devoted to criminal defense work) and approximately 20% of our firm’s work is pro bono.

  • On October 4, 2011, along with the Innocence Project, Inc. of New York, was instrumental in gaining the release of an innocent man, Michael Morton, who was convicted in 1987 for the murder of his wife, in Williamson County, Texas.


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Representative Cases

  • Moreno-Gonzales vs. U.S., No. 07-400 (U.S. Supreme Court 2008)
  • U.S. vs. White, 258 F.3d 374 (5th Cir. 2001)
  • State of Texas vs. Julian Hernandez, No. 89-CR-3036-B (Bexar County, Texas)
  • State of Texas vs. Powell, No. 911, 524 (Travis County, Texas)
  • State of Texas vs. Heredia, No. 90-CR-6371 (Bexar County, Texas)
  • State of Texas v. Millard Farmer, et al,. Cr., No, 92-415, 861 and 92-425, 862 (72nd Judicial District Court, Lubbock County, Texas)
  • In re Grand Jury Proceedings, Jean Auclair (Burton), No. 92-1116 (United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit)
  • U.S. v. Wilder, 15 F. 3d 1292 (5th Cir. 1994)
  • Mauldin v. Coats, 1989 WL 139110 (Tex.App.-Tyler 1989)
  • State of Texas vs. Martinez, No. 71-481 (Webb County, Texas)
  • State of Texas vs. Moseley, No. 21-9234 (Gregg County, Texas)
  • State of Texas vs. Armstrong, No. 92-CR-6425 (Bexar County, Texas)
  • Ex parte Pedro Solis Sosa, No. W2 7729 (Atascosa County, Texas)
  • Oscar Goodman, Witness-Petitioner vs. U.S. (Supreme Court 1993)
  • Millard Farmer, et al. vs. Randall Sherrod, et al., No. 2:93-CV-0017-J (United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas)
  • U.S. vs. William Paul Covington (Moffitt/Zwerling), Cr. No. 91-00425-A (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia)
  • John Doe, John Doe 1, John Doe II through John Doe VIII vs. U.S. (United States District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee)
  • Cable News Network, Inc., et al. vs. Manuel A. Noriega, et al., No’s. A-370 and 90-767 (Supreme Court of the United States 1990)
  • U.S. vs. David Z. Chesnoff, No. 91-17-H-CCL (United States District Court for the District of Montana)
  • In re Grand Jury Subpoena for Attorney Representing Criminal Defendant Jose Evaristo Reyes-Requena (DeGuerin), 926 F.2d 1423 (5th Cir. 1991)
  • U.S. vs. Jose Orlando Lopez, et al., No. CR 89 0687 (United States District Court, Northern District of California)
  • U.S. vs. In re Grand Jury Subpoena for Attorney Dan C. Guthrie (District Court, Criminal Court No. 2, Dallas County, Texas)
  • U.S. vs. B.B., No. 5:93-CR-056-C (Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division )In re Grand Jury Proceedings, No. SA-94-CR-69
  • U.S. v. Hemmingson, 157 F.3d 347 (5th Cir. 1998)
  • U.S. v. Martin, No. SA-95-CR-059 (Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division)
  • State vs. Moreno, No. 90-CR-6371 (Bexar County, Texas)
  • Ex parte Cathcart, No. 04-98-00231-CR (Bexar County, Texas)
  • U.S. v. Richter, No. 2:97-CR-20048-001 (United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois)
  • U.S. v. P.L. (Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division) -U.S. v. White, 258 F.3d 374 (5th Cir. 2001) -U.S. vs. B.W. (Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division)
  • U.S. vs. Moreno-Gonzalez, No. 05-14475 (11th Circuit 2007)U.S. vs. Barry, WL 2116426, C.A.5 (Tex.), NO. 05-20838 (2007)
  • U.S. vs. JW (2009) -State vs. Smith (2008) -State vs. Smith (2009)
  • U.S. vs. Rana, No. MO: 04-CR-00003 (ND Texas 2007)In re Zapata, No. 01-CR-3607-W1 (2007)State of Texas v. Zapata, No. 2001-CR-3607 (290th Judicial District Court, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas)Davis vs. Zain, No. SA-94-CA-0094 (Bexar County, Texas)

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Pro Bono Activities

  • State vs. Estrada, 2008 – Present
  • State v. Martinez, 1991 – 2000
  • State v. Sosa, 1995 – Present

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