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.
Assistant Staff Attorney | Jessica Freud
Jessi joined IPTX in December 2018 and she works with Executive Director Mike Ware on special litigation projects.
In June of 2019 Jessi received the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Charles Butts Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award, for her pro-bono work on the nationally-covered Joe Bryan case.
Jessi has exclusively practiced criminal defense; trial, appeals, and post-conviction, representing individuals in Central Texas. Since being admitted to the Texas Bar in 2015, Jessi has assisted with and tried nearly two dozen misdemeanor and felony cases before juries. In 2018, she was selected for membership to The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 for Texas criminal defense. Jessi is also a member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, McLennan County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the Texas Bar College.
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.
Certified Paralegal | Jena Parker
Jena has over 25 years experience as a criminal law paralegal and is the main assistant to IPTX Executive Director Mike Ware.
In addition to being a certified paralegal, Jena has been a member of the State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division for many years and currently is on the board of the Texas Bar College. Jena became a member of the Fort Worth Paralegal Association (FWPA) in 1992 and was the President of the FWPA in 2005, where she served on the board for a total of six years. Jena was also nominated for Paralegal of the Year from 2003-2006 while a member of the Fort Worth Paralegal Division. Jena was also featured in “Lessons from the Top Paralegal Experts” by Carole Bruno.
She was also highlighted in “Dallas DNA,” a six-week television series on Investigation Discovery (ID) in April 2009 based on the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) in Fort Worth. Jena was the paralegal for the CIU when it was created in 2007 and continued her work with the CIU until 2011. The CIU was the first of its kind in the United States and was created to review actual claims of innocence in Dallas County, Texas.
Development and Operations Associate | Andrea Geist
Andrea works to ensure all operations, communications and fundraising activities make optimal use of technology. Her goal is to ensure all business functions are completed so that all legal staff can focus on freeing the wrongfully convicted. Andrea manages the donor database, data entry, and gift processing, as well as interfacing with all CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) donor and DAF (Donor Advised Funds) programs.
Andrea also secures support from individuals, primarily through online giving, and organizes social media and the website for IPTX. She manages the accounting system, expense reports and documentation of all financials. Additionally, Andrea is responsible for grant reporting, social media, email and website infrastructure.
Andrea is an avid supporter of Animal Rights and fosters dogs for a local rescue group.
Intake Administrator | Donna Irvin
Donna receives the first communications from defendants or their family members asking IPTX for assistance in proving their actual innocence.
Donna handles all incoming calls and mail regarding new cases and updating current cases with new information. She prepares quarterly reports on the cases and as needed. Donna opens the mail, for which IPTX receives 50-75 pieces a week. 50% are brand-new case letters. The other 50% represent information IPTX has requested (questionnaires, transcripts, answers from defendants, etc). At any given time there are approximately 250 files that are waiting on requested information.
Paralegal, Board Certified in Criminal Law | Kim Moore
Kim Moore began working for the Innocence Project of Texas in February of 2016. Kim is a Board-Certified Paralegal in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is one of only 8 paralegals in the State of Texas that are specialized in Criminal Law.
Kim served on the State Bar’s Paralegal Division Publication Committee from 2004-2006; additionally, she served as an elected officer for the Fort Worth Paralegal Association (FWPA) in the positions of Secretary and Advertising Chair from 2005-2008. Prior to working at the Innocence Project of Texas, Kim worked for a criminal defense attorney from 1986-2015, assisting in more than 13 Death Penalty trials in both State and Federal Courts, among other criminal offenses.
At IPTX, Kim organizes incoming discovery for new innocence claims and assists with case development. Kim can also be found at the Texas A&M School of Law helping Executive Director Mike Ware as he teaches an Innocence Clinic during the school year.
Reatha Compton | Intake Assistant
Reatha helps Donna with intake. She scans documents and does anything else to help manage the large volume of letters IPTX receives on a daily basis.
Reatha has worked for various attorneys in personal injury, family law, and criminal law in Fort Worth.