George E. Dix, a longtime distinguished member of the Texas Law faculty, died on May 10, in Austin, at age 81. Dix taught criminal law and criminal procedure and was a prolific author of many leading textbooks, articles, and treatises. He was a member of the Texas Law faculty from 1971 until his retirement in 2018.
“George was a beloved teacher, scholar, and colleague,” said Dean Bobby Chesney. “He was the undisputed authority on any number of legal matters relating to criminal law and procedure, in both Texas and the nation. He was also a bridge between the present day and some of the most legendary figures of the law school’s past, such as Charles McCormick and his frequent co-author, Bob Dawson. He was a superb lawyer and professor who epitomized many of the best traditions of the school.”
Dix, who had held the George R. Killam Jr. Chair Emeritus of Criminal Law for the past five years, was “a criminal lawyer’s criminal lawyer who was of tremendous service to the bench and bar during his very productive career,” said The Hon. F. Scott McCown ’79. McCown was both a student of Dix and a colleague. “He was a gifted classroom teacher,” McCown recalled.
Dix was one of Texas’ foremost experts on criminal procedure. He served for nearly a decade as vice-chair, and then chair, of the Texas State Bar Committee that drafted jury instructions for criminal cases. The committee issued a four-volume work under Dix’s leadership, “Texas Criminal Pattern Jury Charges,” that distilled relevant—and sometimes contradictory—elements of the Texas Penal Code into functional jury instructions that Texas judges could use in criminal cases.
“That was an extraordinary contribution to the bench and bar of Texas,” noted Steven Goode, Dix’s fellow professor and the W. James Kronzer Chair in Trial and Appellate Advocacy at Texas Law.
While Dix was best known in his later years as an expert on Texas criminal procedure, he was also nationally renowned as an expert on evidence. With former Texas Law Dean Charles McCormick, Dix was a co-author of McCormick on Evidence, a leading treatise in the field. Dix was also a devoted scholar on issues of mental health, law and psychiatry, and juvenile justice.
Funeral services for Professor Dix will be held in Austin on May 26, at St. Louis Catholic Church.
UPDATE: A family obituary for Prof. Dix, with information on survivors and memorial gifts, was published on May 17.