Chari L Kelly

Chari L Kelly

  • Adjunct Professor -- Advocacy Program

Faculty Profile: Chari L Kelly

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Hon. Chari L. Kelly


Justice, Third Court of Appeals 


Justice Kelly is an extended faculty member in the Advocacy Department, serving as a lecturer in the Advocacy Survey Skills class. She also assists coaching interscholastic mock trial teams throughout the year and has served as an adjunct professor for over 10 years.


After law school graduation, Justice Kelly served as a Captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corp (JAG) in the Trial Defense Service for nearly four years. During her time on active duty, Justice Kelly represented over 150 soldiers facing trial by court-martial, including contested manslaughter and rape jury trials. She was assigned several cases with national media attention, including a detainee abuse case at the Bagram Airfield Detainee Facility in Afghanistan, and a Colombian drug smuggling and money laundering conspiracy case at Fort Bliss, Texas. Justice Kelly also successfully tried the military’s first fetal manslaughter case, and was selected to present a course on the subject at the U.S. Army’s Trial Defense Service worldwide conference in 2006.


After leaving the military in 2007, Justice Kelly worked as the Research Attorney for Judge Paul Womack, on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. In 2008, she joined Texas Attorney General’s Office in the Civil Medicaid Fraud Division, where she practiced civil litigation for several years before returning to criminal practice. 


Before her election to the Third Court, Justice Kelly served as an Assistant District Attorney for both Comal and Travis Counties, handling all aspects of felony criminal prosecutions.  She has tried more than 35 jury trials, including aggravated sexual assault of a child, murder, attempted capital murder, and kidnapping.  In 2018, Justice Kelly was named the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Prosecutor of the Year for Travis County.


She is licensed in Texas and admitted to the Northern, Western, and Eastern Federal Courts in Texas, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. She is Board Certified in Criminal Law in Texas and is a Board Certified Advocate with the National Board of Trial Advocacy where she serves on their Board of Directors.  She is also a member of the Texas Law Alumni Association Executive Committee.

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