Thursday, April 30, 2020
Noon-1:00 PM
This will be a Virtual Rotary Meeting!
 
 
 
The Innocence Project of Texas (IPTX) is the largest, most effective organization in the state dedicated to seeking the exoneration of individuals who have been wrongfully convicted and reuniting the innocent with their families.
 
Anna Vasquez, Director of Outreach and Education for IPTX , and also on the Board of the Houston Forensic Science Center, will speak about her first-hand experience with being a wrongfully convicted individual. Her story and those of three other women can be seen in the award-winning documentary www.Southwestofsalem.com about “The San Antonio 4”. She will speak also to the issues for prisoners now living under even more isolation with COVID-19, as she was placed in solitary during some of her prison time as she would not sign a confession for the crime she did not commit.
 
Mike Ware is the Executive Director of IPTX and directs investigative and legal services for the organization. Mike worked for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office and while there, formed the first Conviction Integrity Unit in the nation. These units, now in almost every major county in the country, including Harris County, review legitimate claims of innocence.
 
Mike will speak on the difficulties of working on forward momentum with cases as many courts are currently shut down, and on the inability to meet with IPTX clients in prison amid statewide lock downs. He will share the latest details on the nationally known Houston case of Lydell Grant and unraveling the actual perpetrator of a case by working with the FBI DNA database. He’ll also briefly discuss the Amicus brief filed by IPTX attorney on another Houston case: Alfred DeWayne Brown. Subject of Episode 8 of the highly watched new Netflix series, Brown spent over a decade on death row. His attorney, Brian Stolarz, will be the guest speaker on an IPTX conference call Thursday evening, April 30th at 7:15 pm. www.innocencetexas.org
 
 
First time using Microsoft Teams? Here's what you do. A few minutes before noon, click
 
CLICK HERE ----> Join Virtual Meeting <---- CLICK HERE
  • If you've previously installed the Teams application, you'll be asked if you want to open it.  Click 'Cancel'.
  • Then click the option to 'Join on the web instead'.
  • Chrome will ask you if you want to allow teams.microsoft.com to use your microphone and camera.  Select 'allow' (or block if you don't want to be seen or heard in the meeting).
  • You'll be prompted to enter your name.  Then click 'Join now' to join the meeting.
  • The message 'Someone in the meeting should let you in soon' will be displayed.  Be patient - the meeting organizer will admit you.
  • Once admitted, you can click on the movie-camera icon or the microphone icon to toggle your video and microphone on and off.
 
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.

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.
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