Jacob Blizzard here, and today, I wanted to talk to you about a question that I get asked sometimes: why do you choose to practice post-conviction relief? First, I’ll tell you a little bit of background about me.
I grew up in the Houston area in a little town called Crosby, and when I graduated high school, I thought that I wanted to go into ministry. I grew up in a non-denominational church that was similar to Baptist churches, and I wanted to be a Christian minister, possibly focusing on youth ministry or some sort of pastoral role in a church.
I went to Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas right out of high school, which is about 2 hours south of where I currently practice law. I went there for a couple of years, met my wife, and got married. Later, for financial and other reasons we transferred to the University of Houston where I finished up my bachelor’s degree. However, when I was at Howard Payne, I felt like I had some revelations. One of those revelations was that I’d always wanted to be a lawyer. I realized that was something that was in the background of my mind growing up.
I used to watch those lawyer shows on TV, and what’s ironic is that in law school they tell you, “Oh, don’t go to law school if you just like lawyer shows.” I, however, grew up watching Perry Mason, Matlock, and all those shows, and I thought, “Wow, that would be a cool thing to do.” Because of this, I always had an interest in it. I had a very analytical mind, very logical arguments, and I wanted to be an advocate for the weak, the oppressed, and the bullied.
When I was at Howard Payne, I made the decision that I really wanted to help and minister to people, but I wanted to do that outside of the church. I felt like there were a lot of people at Howard Payne that wanted to be pastors and focus on ministry. The profession I had always leaned toward the most was law and being a lawyer. Then came the question of, “What am I going to do in the field of law?”I had the idea that I might be a prosecutor, prosecuting people for crimes and defending victims.
However, when I really thought about it and when I really got down to it, what I really love about this job and love about what I do is that I get to help people that are in some of the most vulnerable, the most oppressed, and the most difficult positions they’re ever going to be in their life. I do criminal defense trial work as well, and I’m there with people, as I walk with them through the most difficult times in their lives when they’re accused of something, regardless of whether they did it or not. Jesus came for all, not for just whoever the prosecution thinks is worthy. Because of this, I feel like my role is to be there and to walk beside these individuals who trust me to help take care of them in their situation, and to resolve it in the best way that I can.
It could be that it’s through a trial where we go try the case and we shoot for a not guilty, or it could be about mitigation. Whether it’s about trying to show that this is a person worthy of a second chance, this is a person who just needs another shot, needs rehab, or needs some anger management, or needs whatever it is to try to get them on the right path in life again.
This way of thinking naturally progressed into post-conviction Writ relief because those people are at the lowest point; they’re in prison. They’re not just accused of a crime, they’ve been convicted. They have lost their liberty and they’re struggling for their freedom. Maybe they committed a crime, maybe they’ve made some mistakes, maybe they didn’t have good representation, maybe they didn’t have somebody who really took advocacy seriously and worked to get them the best deal they could, or worked to make sure they got a fair trial and didn’t get convicted.
That’s really what my passion is. I still do a lot of criminal trial work, but this post-conviction relief work has become a very substantial portion of my practice. I really enjoy both of these, and I hope to help even more people achieve freedom from prison.
About The Attorney
Jacob Blizzard is board certified in both criminal law and criminal appellate law.
He regularly practices in the areas of state and federal criminal defense, criminal appeals, post conviction writs of habeas corpus.
In Texas, there are more than 100,000 attorneys licensed to practice, but only 7,450 are board certified.
In the entire State of Texas, as of the 2019 certification year, there were only 87 attorneys board certified in both criminal law and criminal appellate law, making Mr. Blizzard one of 0.087% of attorneys in Texas to hold both of those certifications.