Executive Director | Mike Ware
Mike directs the investigative and legal services of IPTX, in addition to being our leader.
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 addition, he was a law clerk for the Honorable David O. Belew, Jr., United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas in Fort Worth from 1983 to 1984.
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 whistle-blower claims. He became board certified in criminal law in 1990. His criminal defense practice has involved pre-charge investigations, grand jury proceedings, trials, direct appeals and other post-conviction proceedings in both state and federal courts throughout the United States.
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 April 2009, Mike was featured in “Dallas DNA,” a six-week television series on Investigation Discovery (ID) based on his work with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). In July 2011, Mike resumed private practice in Fort Worth. Ware was a faculty member at the Criminal Trial Advocacy Institute in Huntsville, Texas from 1993 to 1996, and has an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Ware's peers voted to name him a "Texas Super Lawyer.” In 2014, he received the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers' Association "Percy Foreman" Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year award. Mike 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 IPTX partner.
Deputy Director | Robert W. Hoelscher
Robert directs IPTX operations, including development, communications, finance, 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 friends with and follows the social justice work of Louisiana exonerees Norris Henderson (Voice of the Ex-Offender), John Thompson (Resurrection After Exoneration), Calvin Duncan (Light of Justice Project) and Texas exoneree Anthony Graves (Anthony Graves Foundation).
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.
Intake Administrator | Donna Tutt Irvin
Donna directs the case intake process for IPTX.
Prior to joining IPTX, she was Vice President, and Executive Assistant to the President, of a commercial real estate firm in Fort Worth, Texas. Donna was instrumental in performing the tasks of due diligence for the buys and sells of the company; working directly with banks and title companies; managing the daily operations of the Fort Worth office; as well as the financial operations. Donna volunteers as a Bible Study facilitator at The Stayton at Museum Way and is currently on the Advisory Board of Community Hospice of Texas. She is married and has 2 children and 3 grandchildren.