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On Demand Audio

The Justification of Self-Defense in Texas

(737 reviews)

Produced on November 21, 2014

Taught by
$ 59 Criminal Law In Stock

Course Information

Time 60 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate
Categories Criminal Law

Course Description

Lawline Faculty Member George Parnham discusses Texas self-defense statutes in his new program, “The Justification of Self-Defense in Texas.”


The public random acts of violence that permeate the climate of our culture have led to a tangible fear among the citizenry. Drastic measures have been discussed and in some cases, implemented.  Guns on campus, armed teachers, and increased law enforcement at schools are some of the “answers” suggested to combat such violence, while a vigorous and divisive debate continues over the application of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.


In light of such discourse, this presentation focuses on the use of non-deadly and deadly force to protect one’s safety, as well as that of third parties, and aims to answer the question, “when is self-defense justifiable and when is it not?”


Learning Objectives:

I.   Identify the legal issue of self-defense

II.  Evaluate the situations that may result in the use of deadly or non-deadly force  

III. Recognize the circumstances that permit or prohibit the use of non-deadly and deadly force in Texas




Credit Information

This course is pre-approved for CLE credit in the following states. If your state is not listed, contact support for more information on how to receive credit


George Parnham

Parnham and McWilliams

George Parnham has over thirty-five years experience as a practicing attorney. He is Board Certified in the area of Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. His practice entails every aspect of the law where citizens find themselves accused of a crime. This firm handles offenses charged by both the State and Federal Court systems, not only within the State of Texas, but out of state jurisdictions as well. Our experience ranges from simple to complex litigation and alternative dispute resolution.

As defense attorney for some highly visible clients, George Parnham has unintentionally created an equally high profile for himself and his firm. This isn't an altogether comfortable role for the soft-spoken attorney.

"We believe that just as we have enjoyed the benefits of living in our community, and in our Country, we have an obligation to give something in return ... I can't say I ever enjoy facing a phalanx of cameras," Parnham explains. "I do it because the media is often the only way my clients can be heard. Sometimes their stories, and the crimes with which they have been charged, are so painful and complicated that the average person cannot begin to grasp the real issues of the case in the sterile and hyper-controlled environment of the courtroom. Speaking to the media at the end of a long day is sometimes our only hope that the community will understand the real issues involved in my cases. These are important things which affect all of society. My own notoriety is only incidental to the process." No one would argue that Parnham is totally committed to ensuring that his clients are heard and, to whatever extent possible, understood. In instances where misrepresentation or misstatement about the factual circumstances of an accusation have been, intentionally, or not leaked to the public, it is imperative to "set the record straight" and do whatever can be done to level the playing field of public opinion.

Mr. Parnham sponsors the Yates Children Memorial Fund. The Yates Children Memorial Fund (YCMF) is named after Russell and Andrea Yates' children: Noah, John, Paul, Luke and Mary. It was created June, 2002, by the Mental Health Association of Greater Houston (MHA Houston) to fund women's mental health education. Knowledge and understanding is the key to prevention. It is our sincere desire that the lives of these children will be forever memorialized through this effort.

Undergraduate Education:

Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana

B.S. - Secondary Education ? 1963

Graduate Education:

University of Texas School of Law Austin, Texas

Doctorate of Jurisprudence ? 1970

Military Service: 1st Lieutenant ? United States Army 1964 - 1966

Licensure: State Bar of Texas

Bar Card # 15532000


Board Certified in Criminal Law

Texas Board of Legal Specialization 1983 - Present


Jefferson Award - Local 2 Houston - 2007

Clarence Darrow Award - Harris County Democratic Lawyers Assn. - 2006

Texas Super Lawyer 2003 - 2004

Mental Health Associate of Greater Houston Honoree - 2003

HCCLA Lawyer of the Year - 2002

Houston Press Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year - 2002

Professional Organizations:

American Bar Association

State Bar of Texas

Houston Bar Association

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association

Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association

President (1995 ? 1996)

Court Affiliations:

United States Supreme Court

United States Court of Appeals

United States District Court

Fifth Circuit

Northern District of Texas

Southern District of Texas

Eastern District of Texas

Texas Supreme Court

Law Practice:

Pettigrew and Buckley Associate, Dallas, Texas 1969

Woody & Rosen Associate, Houston, Texas 1970

Parnham & Associates

Sole Practitioner 1971-Present



Jay G.

Very good basic overview, review and update. Great examples given by the speaker from his own experience. He was thorough, knowledgeable and covered the material well in the allotted time. Thank you!

david b.

highly recommend lawline to everyone! Thank you :)

Kirk L.


Jane C.

Very informative.

Susan P.

Interesting topic - and he is a highly defense attorney. Very good advice and tips.

Jennifer H.

Very informative and great practice applications.

Linda G.



good topic--and very knowledgeable presenter; this was a good overview

Martin P.

very informative. gives a lot of insight

Melissa Y.

interesting topic

Fabian G.

the outline of the law in this area was very good

Jack H.

excellent speaker

W B.



very informative on recent issues

Steven H.

A very important basic skill all criminal practitioners need to know - can be extended to almost all affirmative defenses.

William S.

Mr. Parnham hits all the right points just as he did a few years ago with presenting the insanity defense.

Jim G.


Bruce F.

I don't do criminal but it was interesting.....

Eric D.

Good info

Nancy A.

Very practical.

Melanie C.

Great examples & stories. Interesting character of a Texas Criminal Defense attorney. Maybe need a little help on speaking style.

Brendan K.

Good summary. Interesting stories. I much prefer stories and actual examples over dry recitations of regulations and cases.

Frank R.

Atty. Parnham is always good. Little monotonish, but very informative.

Ronald G.

George was great!

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