Mike Ward

Mike Ward writes about criminal justice, ethics, the Texas Senate and does investigations for Statesman.com and the Austin American-Statesman. He's worked for the American-Statesman since 1989, breaking a variety of award-winning stories that range from a legislative influence-peddling scandal that resulted in creation of the Texas Ethics Commission, a $33 million-dollar no-bid prison contract that triggered indictments and reforms, pollution at an East Austin gasoline tank farm that led to its closure and cell-phone smuggling on Texas' death row, among others. A member of national groups of investigative reporters and criminal justice journalists, he has covered prison systems and criminal justice issues in five states and the federal system in a 30-plus-year career. He also writes about Texas history, having headed several historical preservation organizations. He lives in Austin.

Latest from Mike Ward

ARCHIVE: Plea agreement falls apart in murder case
 GEORGETOWN — Convicted murderer Michael Keith Moore admitted to investigators that he killed Rachel Cooke, a Georgetown woman missing since January 2002, with a hammer blow to the head as the 19-year-old was jogging near her parents' home, a source familiar with the case said. Moore also detailed dropping her body in the Gulf of Mexico...

3:08 PM Friday, Jun. 09, 2017

GEORGETOWN — Convicted murderer Michael Keith Moore admitted to investigators that he killed Rachel Cooke, a Georgetown woman missing since January 2002, with a hammer blow to the head as the 19-year-old was jogging near her parents' home, a source familiar with the case said. Moore also detailed dropping her body in the Gulf of Mexico...
Texas’ supreme tweeter on Trump’s high court list
 AUSTIN -- One holds forth as the Tweet King of the GOP presidential campaign. The other has been declared the Tweeter Laureate of Texas. But last week, when Donald Trump included Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, an outspoken conservative, among the 11 jurists on his short list for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace the...

10:00 AM Monday, May. 23, 2016

AUSTIN -- One holds forth as the Tweet King of the GOP presidential campaign. The other has been declared the Tweeter Laureate of Texas. But last week, when Donald Trump included Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, an outspoken conservative, among the 11 jurists on his short list for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace the...
Historians compare Trump's rise to that of Andrew Jackson in 1828
 An outspoken and highly successful businessman, he has been described as an egotistical and irascible outsider who bristled at the political establishment, saying things not repeated in polite society while claiming to be the defender of average Americans during his unconventional run for president. Donald Trump? Try Andrew Jackson in 1828...

11:02 AM Friday, Mar. 04, 2016

An outspoken and highly successful businessman, he has been described as an egotistical and irascible outsider who bristled at the political establishment, saying things not repeated in polite society while claiming to be the defender of average Americans during his unconventional run for president. Donald Trump? Try Andrew Jackson in 1828...
Perry faces hard questions about campaign’s viability
 Relegated to a footnote in most polls, Rick Perry faces a wrenching decision about his once-promising presidential comeback bid: Does he have a viable path to the GOP nomination? Running on the fumes of the once-booming Texas economic “miracle,” the Lone Star State’s ex-governor lost the cowboy boots and donned new glasses...

3:46 PM Wednesday, Sep. 09, 2015

Relegated to a footnote in most polls, Rick Perry faces a wrenching decision about his once-promising presidential comeback bid: Does he have a viable path to the GOP nomination? Running on the fumes of the once-booming Texas economic “miracle,” the Lone Star State’s ex-governor lost the cowboy boots and donned new glasses...
Monument planned in Austin to salute Navarro

1:20 AM Tuesday, Feb. 03, 2015

Along with Stephen F. Austin, he is considered a founding father of Texas. As a leading participant in the Texas Revolution, he was one of three Mexican signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence. He was the sole Hispanic representative at an 1845 convention that led Texas to statehood. Alamo hero James Bowie was his nephew. Yet, in...
Houston halfway house with sex offenders has had many escapes

9:04 PM Saturday, Apr. 12, 2014

One hundred parolees have fled during the past four years from a halfway house in northeastern Harris County where state officials recently moved more than two dozen high-risk sex offenders. The 28 sex offenders — men who have finished their prison sentences but whom state officials consider too dangerous to be set free — temporarily...
David Dewhurst tagged as long shot in May runoff
 If state Sen. Dan Patrick’s sizable lead over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in Tuesday’s Republican primary was surprising, so too would be a Dewhurst comeback to win the May runoff, political observers agreed Wednesday. “For David Dewhurst to win, he would have to reinvent himself, he will have to spend $15-20 million to get...

12:33 AM Thursday, Mar. 06, 2014

If state Sen. Dan Patrick’s sizable lead over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in Tuesday’s Republican primary was surprising, so too would be a Dewhurst comeback to win the May runoff, political observers agreed Wednesday. “For David Dewhurst to win, he would have to reinvent himself, he will have to spend $15-20 million to get...
Dan Patrick holds primary advantage over David Dewhurst heading into May runoff
 Riding a surprisingly strong wave of tea party support, state Sen. Dan Patrick easily topped Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Tuesday to force the three-term incumbent into a May 27 GOP runoff in the lieutenant governor’s race. Dewhurst acknowledged to supporters at about 9 p.m. that he would not win outright in the primary, as he had initially...

4:50 AM Wednesday, Mar. 05, 2014

Riding a surprisingly strong wave of tea party support, state Sen. Dan Patrick easily topped Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Tuesday to force the three-term incumbent into a May 27 GOP runoff in the lieutenant governor’s race. Dewhurst acknowledged to supporters at about 9 p.m. that he would not win outright in the primary, as he had initially...
Patrick, Dewhurst headed to runoff

1:40 AM Wednesday, Mar. 05, 2014

Updated at 9 p.m.: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst acknowledged he will be in a May 27 runoff with state Sen. Dan Patrick, who has steadily led the Republican incumbent throughout the evening as vote tallies were announced. Dewhurst told supporters at a Houston rally: “This race is going into overtime and we’re going to win it.&rdquo...
Even before Tuesday’s primary, candidates focus on a May runoff

2:05 AM Monday, Mar. 03, 2014

Even before the polls open for Tuesday’s primary election, the four Republicans who want to be Texas’ next lieutenant governor have begun looking ahead to the likely May runoff. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who has been fighting to keep the job he has held since 2003, is hoping to win enough votes to avoid a runoff. But he explained...
Donna Campbell faces two challengers in Texas Senate race
 The three-way Republican primary fight to determine who will likely represent the X-shaped state Senate district that stretches from northern San Antonio to south Austin has topped more than $1.7 million in spending, as the race enters the final days. Reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission show incumbent state Sen. Donna Campbell...

2:26 AM Sunday, Mar. 02, 2014

The three-way Republican primary fight to determine who will likely represent the X-shaped state Senate district that stretches from northern San Antonio to south Austin has topped more than $1.7 million in spending, as the race enters the final days. Reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission show incumbent state Sen. Donna Campbell...