Michael Edward Keasler, known as Mike Keasler (born August 16, 1942), is a judge of the nine-member Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state court of last resort in criminal cases in Texas.
A Republican, Keasler was first elected in 1998 and won second and third terms in 2004 and 2010. He won re-nomination in the Republican primary on March 1, 2016, against Richard Davis, a former prosecutor and guest lecturer at Baylor Law School in Waco, Texas. Keasler polled 1,100,566 votes (56.9 percent) to Davis' 834,528 votes (43.1 percent).
A resident of the capital city of Austin, Texas, Keasler received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas and his Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin.
In 1969, Keasler was named assistant district attorney for Dallas County, a position which he held until 1981, when he was appointed judge of the 292nd District Court in Dallas by then Governor Bill Clements. He remained on the 292nd trial court until 1998. From 1990 to 1997, Keasler was the dean of continuing judicial education in Texas. In 1993, he instituted the Texas College of Advanced Judicial Studies. Since 1992, he has been a faculty member at the National Judicial College.
Judge Keasler has been married since 1969 to the former Nancy Lawson, a teacher at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Austin. Their daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren also reside in Austin.
Keasler lost a bid in 1996 for the Republican nomination for the Court of Criminal Appeals but rebounded in the 1998 Republican runoff election, in which he defeated intra-party challenger, Vicki Barbee Isaacks (born 1957) of Denton County, 130,764 (62.8 percent) to 77,575 (37.2 percent). In the general election, Keasler unseated the Democrat incumbent, Charles F. "Charlie" Baird of Austin, 1,889,069 (54 percent) to 1,611,538 (46 percent). In 2004, Keasler defeated another Democrat, J. R. Molina, 3,990,315 (57.9 percent) to 2,906,720 (42.1) percent. In 2010, Judge Keasler defeated the Democrat Keith Hampton (born 1960) of Austin, 2,906,012 (60.5 percent) to 1,759,365 (36.6 percent. Another 139,299 votes (2.9 percent) went to the Libertarian Party candidate, Robert Ravee Virasin (born 1972) of Dallas.
Keasler was reelected to a fourth six-year term in the general election held on November 8, 2016. With 4,785,012 votes (55 percent), he defeated the Democrat Robert Burns, who polled 3,558,844 ballots (40.9 percent). The remaining 360,167 votes (4.1 percent) were secured by the Libertarian nominee, Mark W. Bennett. Burns had received 957,162 votes running unopposed in the Democratic primary on March 1. Yet again, it was an all-Republican year for statewide judgships in Texas.