There is no going home for Cynthia White Sinatra ("Sinatra"). Sinatra is the oldest of three daughters born to Clinton and Wanda White on December 16, 1952 in the small company town of Newgulf, Texas. The company sold the town and the parents of Cynthia and her twin sisters were forced to relocate to the next closest town in rural Texas, Wharton.
Sinatra was labeled "the Pilgrim" by her legal mentor, Michael Ramsey. "She is transcendental in her search for knowledge and justice", Ramsey said of her at the Advanced Criminal Defense Lawyer's Seminar in Aspen, Colorado. He has often inspired her to continue on uphill battles by telling her in each incident, "Pilgrim, you do your best work when your back is against the wall."
Cynthia Sinatra was the first American criminal defense attorney to be assigned to defend persons accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. For four years, Sinatra was counsel in the first multi-defendant war crimes trial since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials, also known as the Celebici Case.1 In the Celebici Case Sinatra represented a Bosnian Muslim, Esad Landzo, accused of heinous crimes against humanity. While the Celebici Trial was still in the appeal phase, Sinatra was, once again, selected to defend another person accused of war crimes, Dragan Jokic, A Bosnian Serb. Mr. Jokic was accused of genocide and 17 counts of murder and torture in the infamous Srebrenica Case.2
The law office of Cynthia Sinatra is located at 2120 Welch Street, Houston, Texas 77019, and Sinatra has worked in her legal practice as a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in criminal trial practice in Texas for twenty (20) years. She has completed and tried over a hundred criminal jury trials while representing 327 criminal clients in county, state, federal and international litigation, including the cases in the various courts of appeal. Sinatra is a member of the State Bar of Texas and has worked as an associate attorney with Hardy, Militin and Johns Law Firm specializing in personal injury litigation in the late 1980's. In 1990, Sinatra worked as a legal intern for Federal District Judge Sim Lake. She also worked as a law clerk for Fisher, Gallagher, Perrin and Lewis prior to 1989. In the mid 1980's, Sinatra was an active legislative consultant for Service Corporation International, The Texas Funeral Service Commission, and Penzoil Corporation lobbying against special interest legislation by Texaco Corporation during the 1987 Texas Legislative Session.
While attending the University of Texas at Austin on a theater scholarship, Sinatra worked half days in the Texas State Capitol for Speaker of the House of Representatives, Representative Gus F. Mutcher in 1971. In 1972 and 1973 she began working in the Texas State Senate, first for Texas Senator J.P. Word and then for Texas Senator, O.H. "Ike" Harris.
In 1974, Cynthia White married Robert McMurrey, another University of Texas graduate. In 1977, Sinatra received her Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from Sam Houston State University after having attended The University of Texas at Austin. Two months after receiving her undergraduate degree, Cynthia gave birth to her first of three daughters, Jessica McMurrey. While Jessica was an infant, Sinatra drove to Dallas without any prior preparation to take the LSAT test. She was ready for law school. Divorce and single parenthood prevented her entry into law school immediately; however, while pregnant with her second daughter, Brittany Brink, she began law school at South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. Two years later, and one week before graduation during final exams, Victoria Brink was born on April 22, 1988, the youngest of three daughters.3 Sinatra received her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law in May of 1990 after being selected by the faculty to receive the David Donnelly Award of outstanding achievement.
Cynthia Sinatra is currently a member in good standing and a participant in the United States of America Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana, the United States District Courts for the Southern District of Texas in Houston, Texas, the American Bar Association, the National Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer's, the International Criminal Defense Attorney's Association, the Texas State Bar Association, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Screen Actors Guild, the International Criminal Defence Association/International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICDA/ICTY) and the Academy of European Law.
Sinatra has lectured on Constitutional Law at South Texas College of Law and on the international applications of genocide on the world courts in Nottingham Trent Law School. Cynthia Sinatra continues to publish and to chronolog the various facets of criminal law with a flare and accuracy that explains the grey areas of crimes against humanity and genocide. The Wall Street Journal took a peek into the life of a war crimes trial attorney in their feature article, Her Way,4 in which the state of the rule of law, no set international criminal law was to become her passion. The unsettled state of international criminal law was to be refined and defined during the first years that Sinatra was filing motions and requesting rulings by the UN courts.
Sinatra's first published writing can be found in The Criminal Defense Lawyers Association magazine, The Voice, February 1994. She is further published in the Nottingham Trent Law School Journal, The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Application of Genocide, October 2004 and the The International Criminal Law Review, The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Application of Genocide, 2005.5 Sinatra's expertise has been applied while she has frequently been a legal commentator on Court TV and the Jerry Spence Show.
In August 2005, Sinatra and her legal colleagues in the world court in The Hague, The Netherlands began Justicia International, an organization designed as an international consultancy firm and international criminal law firm composed of women. The purpose of the organization is to advise governments, international corporations and interior advisory bodies on anti-terror legislation and anti-corruption evaluation and prevention. Ms. Sinatra continues to work diligently to assist governments and organizations in understanding the path to peace.
In 2006, Cynthia Sinatra ran for Congress. Sinatra is an officer on the central committee for the Wharton County Habitat for Humanity organization.
The Prosecutor v. Vidoje Blagojevic & Dragon Jokic,
Case No. IT-96-21-T/A, also known
as the "Celebici Trial."