Executive Director | Mike Ware
Mike directs our investigative and legal services. He is an adjunct professor at Texas A&M University School of Law and supervises the Texas A&M Innocence Project legal clinic, which is an Innocence Texas partner.
He graduated with honors from the University of Texas with a degree in philosophy. He graduated from the University of Houston Law School in 1983, where he was research editor for the Houston Law Review and the Houston Law Review's Texas Rules of Evidence Handbook.
In 1984, Mike began private practice, specializing in criminal defense. His practice included representing police officers in criminal, civil and administrative matters as well as investigating and litigating whistleblower claims.
From July 2007 until July 2011, Mike was the Special Fields Bureau Chief for the Dallas County District Attorney's office, which included the Conviction Integrity Unit. In 2014, he received the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers' Association "Percy Foreman" Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year award.
Deputy Director | Allison Clayton
Allison directs the Innocence Clinic at the Texas Tech University Law School where she supervises law students working on our wrongful conviction cases.
Upon graduation from the Texas Tech University Law School in 2007, Allison clerked with the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, Texas. She then became a briefing attorney with the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas. She has worked extensively on federal habeas corpus petitions arising from both state and federal convictions.
Allison started her private appellate specialty practice in 2014. She has litigated cases from local county courts to the United States Supreme Court. Allison joined the Innocence Project of Texas in the fall of 2016 (she continues to serve selected clients in her private practice).
Allison wants to use her unique legal background to fight for people she believes in and for issues she is passionate about. Appellate and post-conviction litigation was a natural fit and she has dedicated her career to helping people and their families after trial.
Deputy Director | Robert W. Hoelscher
Robert is responsible for all Innocence Texas business operations: finance, development, marketing/communications, human resources and technology.
Robert is the co-founder and former executive director of Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO). Funding he secured from the Ford Foundation also laid the groundwork for innocence work in Mississippi (now shared between IPNO and the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi School of Law). He coordinated two of the early Innocence Network conferences (2003/New Orleans; 2004/Austin).
Robert is a murder victim family member (his father was murdered in Houston, Texas when he was seven years old) and former board member of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation (MVFR). His professional experience outside innocence work includes several administrative positions at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and The University of Texas at Austin. He holds a masters in nonprofit management from North Park University in Chicago and the accompanying certified nonprofit professional (CNP) credential.
Director of Outreach and Education | Anna Vasquez
Anna helps us carry the message about wrongful convictions to audiences across the state, including schools, churches, civic groups and others.
Anna and three of her friends – Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, and Kristie Mayhugh – were all wrongly convicted of child sexual assault in the 1990’s. All four were exonerated in 2016. For Anna, this life changing experience has called her to educate the general public about wrongful convictions and speaking out on related criminal justice reforms.