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Morton's Attorneys Comment on Anderson's Resignation

Posted: September 25, 2013 5:15 pm





Tags: Texas, Government Misconduct, Michael Morton

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Victim’s family joins inmate in filing for DNA testing

Posted: August 6, 2008 1:47 pm

In a filing yesterday in federal court, the Innocence Project advocates for DNA testing in the case of Michael Morton, who has served two decades in Texas prison for a murder he has always said he didn’t commit. And Morton is joined in the lawsuit by the family of a woman who was killed in a remarkably similar unsolved crime.  DNA testing and fingerprint analysis in both cases could exonerate Morton and solve McKinney’s murder, the Innocence Project says.

Morton was convicted of killing his wife in Williamson County, Texas in 1986, and sentenced to life in prison. Just a few years earlier, Mildred McKinney was killed in her home less than a mile from the Morton home in a strikingly similar crime. Now, McKinney’s daughter is joining Morton in pursuing DNA testing on evidence from both crime scenes.

“For more than three years, the local prosecutor has fought DNA and fingerprint testing that could prove Michael Morton’s innocence and finally solve both of these crimes,” said Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck. The Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law in New York, represents Morton with co-counsel John Raley of the Cooper & Scully law firm. “Patricia Stapleton and Michael Morton come from very different backgrounds, but they have a common goal to use science and every available law enforcement tool to finally reveal the truth in these cases and find justice for their loved ones.”

Read today’s Innocence Project press release here.





Tags: Michael Morton

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New DNA Evidence Points Toward Texas Prisoner's Innocence

Posted: August 17, 2011 3:53 pm





Tags: Michael Morton

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Texas Man To Be Freed

Posted: October 3, 2011 3:00 pm





Tags: Michael Morton

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Morton Nears Official Exoneration in Texas

Posted: October 12, 2011 6:32 pm





Tags: Michael Morton

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Investigation Goes on in Morton Case

Posted: October 17, 2011 4:23 pm

Read more on recent events in the case from the Austin American-Statesman.

Download the briefs filed on Thursday:

State’s Motion for Mandate to Issue

Applicant’s Opposition to State’s Motion for Mandate to Issue

State’s Motion to Withdraw Motion for Mandate to Issue




Tags: Michael Morton

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Blaming the System

Posted: November 22, 2011 6:13 pm





Tags: Michael Morton

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Innocence Project

Posted: November 24, 2011 12:09 pm





Tags: Michael Morton

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Praise for Court of Inquiry Order in Morton Case

Posted: February 22, 2012 4:00 pm





Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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Special Prosecutor Appointed to Court of Inquiry in Morton Case

Posted: March 13, 2012 5:15 pm





Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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60 Minutes Features Innocence Project Client Michael Morton

Posted: March 26, 2012 5:50 pm





Tags: Texas, Government Misconduct, Michael Morton

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Texas Prosecutors Who Engage in Misconduct Go Undisciplined

Posted: April 5, 2012 5:30 pm





Tags: Texas, Government Misconduct, Michael Morton

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Errant Prosecutors Seldom Held to Account

Posted: May 7, 2012 2:00 pm





Tags: Texas, Government Misconduct, Michael Morton

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Texas Tribune Examines Prosecutorial Misconduct

Posted: July 10, 2012 1:20 pm

The second installment of the Texas Tribune’s series that explores the causes and consequences of prosecutorial errors calls for reforms in the wake of wrongful convictions attributed to prosecutorial misconduct.
 
Michael Morton spent 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife before DNA testing of crime scene evidence proved his innocence and identified a convicted offender in the national DNA databank as perpetrator. Upon his release, Morton’s attorneys recommended a Court of Inquiry to investigate possible misconduct committed by Ken Anderson, the former Williamson County District Attorney who prosecuted Morton. Morton is also urging legislators to implement new laws that hold prosecutors accountable for misconduct, according to the Texas Tribune.


“I can’t make up for those lost years, but what I can do is prevent what happened to me from happening to someone else,” he says.

The Tribune conducted a study of 86 cases of wrongful conviction in Texas and found that 21—or 25%—involved prosecutorial error. And in 17 of those 21, the courts ruled that exculpatory evidence was not given to defense lawyers.
 
According to Betty Blackwell, an Austin criminal defense lawyer and Chair of the State Bar Commission for Lawyer Discipline, the bar can only take action if a person knew it was exculpatory evidence and still withheld it. And on the rare occasion the agency determines that a prosecutor engaged in misconduct, disciplinary measures are often handed out privately. The investigation against Anderson was made public.
 
In an attempt to prevent prosecutorial errors and improve accountability for intentional violations, the American Bar Association recommends reciprocal open discovery between the defense and prosecutors.
 
Meanwhile, Morton remains optimistic as he awaits the September Court of Inquiry that will determine whether Anderson faces criminal charges for his role in the wrongful conviction.

If prosecutors knew they could face consequences for their mistakes, like a fine or the risk of losing their law license, Morton says, they would play fair in the courtroom.
 
“I just can’t imagine this coming to naught,” he says. “Something’s going to happen. I’m confident of it.

Read the full article.
 
Read the first installment of the Tribune series.
 
Read more about prosecutorial misconduct in Texas.



Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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Exoneree's Son Talks About Prosecutorial Error

Posted: July 11, 2012 5:10 pm

Eric Olson, son of the recently exonerated Michael Morton, spoke to the Texas Tribune about prosecutorial misconduct in his father’s case. The article is part of a series, “Errors in Judgment,” on prosecutorial error in Texas wrongful convictions cases. Olson, who was three years old when his father was arrested for murdering his mother, lost both parents in the same year. The article used Olson’s experience as a way to examine the collateral consequences of prosecutor’s misdeeds.

The series analyzed 86 wrongful convictions and discovered that nearly 25% involved prosecutorial error. In Morton’s case, a Court of Inquiry will convene to explore allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against Ken Anderson, the prosecutor who tried Morton in 1987. However, prosecutors are very rarely disciplined, as the Texas Tribune reported, even when their actions contributed to a wrongful conviction.

When Morton was exonerated through DNA testing and freed in October 2011, Olson had not seen his father for 14 years. Father and son would soon meet together with Olson’s pregnant wife. Morton has since become a grandfather for the first time at age 57. 

Olson says that he plans to attend the Court of Inquiry. Exculpatory evidence, including his own statement to his grandmother that his father was not present at the crime and that a “monster” had killed his mother, was never turned over to the defense. As an adult, however, Olson had no memory of the crime. Olson told the Texas Tribune that the prosecutor had convinced his mother’s family that his father committed the crime: 

 

“He convinced everybody that’s what the truth was, and that’s what they thought forever. They didn’t have any other source of truth.


 Part of my life was taken away, first of all, because my mother was killed. Then I don’t understand why somebody would want to continue that chain of events by taking away someone’s father.”

Read the full article.

Read more about the Morton case

Read the other installments in the series.

Read about the Court of Inquiry.




Tags: Michael Morton

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Michael Morton Speaks About Wrongful Conviction, Advocates Reform

Posted: September 5, 2012 5:05 pm

For the first time since DNA testing proved Michael Morton innocent of the murder of his wife and identified a convicted offender as the perpetrator, he gave his first public speaking presentation to the Longview Greggton Rotary Club in Texas on Friday. Morton spoke about his wrongful conviction, the separation from his young son and his 25-year fight for exoneration. He is urging legislators to implement new laws that hold prosecutors accountable for misconduct and encouraged members of the Rotary Club to join the fight, according to the Longview News-Journal.


“I am rebuilding my life, and I can unequivocally assure you that life is good, it is very good,” Morton said. “I want to make sure that what happened to me does not happen to you.”
 

 
“I can’t get my 25 years back; there is nothing I can do to change it. I can’t bring my wife up out of the ground. I can’t re-establish every single thing I lost with my son, but we can do something,” Morton said.
 
“Little tweaks” in the judicial and bar systems could greatly encourage district attorneys not to bury evidence, Morton said.

Like Morton, other exonerees are out speaking about the issues that matter to them to schools, civic organizations, churches, and other venues nationwide. The Innocence Project believes that the personal stories of the exonerated provide the most compelling introduction to the problems of wrongful conviction. The Exoneree Speakers’ Bureau is made up of former Innocence Project clients who have become accomplished public speakers motivated by their desire to prevent future injustice.
 
Read the full article.
 
To book an exoneree speaker or learn more about the Exoneree Speakers’ Bureau, click here.
 
Read more about Morton’s case.



Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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Michael Morton Celebrates One Year of Freedom

Posted: October 5, 2012 11:25 am





Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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Texas Monthly Reports on Morton

Posted: October 12, 2012 11:50 am





Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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Tune In: Michael Morton Featured on Katie Couric

Posted: November 12, 2012 11:30 am





Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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Prosecutorial Accountability in the Michael Morton Case

Posted: November 13, 2012 5:00 pm





Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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My Work On the Michael Morton Case

Posted: November 14, 2012 2:20 pm





Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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Dallas Morning News Honors Two Exonerees as "Texans of the Year"

Posted: January 4, 2013 5:00 pm





Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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A Human Tragedy: Exploring the Stories of 24 Exonerees

Posted: January 24, 2013 6:00 pm





Tags: Texas, Timothy Cole, Michael Morton

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Court of Inquiry Begins Today in Morton Case

Posted: February 4, 2013 1:25 pm





Tags: Texas, Government Misconduct, Michael Morton

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Michael Morton Documentary Premieres at SXSW Festival

Posted: March 8, 2013 3:15 pm





Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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Texas Exoneree Michael Morton Weds, Asks Guests to Donate to the Innocence Project

Posted: March 11, 2013 5:00 pm





Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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Highlights of Wrongful Conviction Reporting

Posted: March 28, 2013 4:25 pm





Tags: Texas, Damon Thibodeaux, Michael Morton, Cameron Todd Willingham

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Passover and the Innocence Project

Posted: April 1, 2013 11:10 am





Tags: Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Marvin Anderson, Damon Thibodeaux, Michael Morton

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Michael Morton's Prosecutor Will Face Criminal Charges for Withholding Evidence

Posted: April 19, 2013 5:00 pm





Tags: Texas, Government Misconduct, Michael Morton

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Texas Considers Discovery Bill on 50th Anniversary of Supreme Court Decision

Posted: May 13, 2013 1:10 pm





Tags: Maryland, Texas, Michael Morton

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Historic Brady Rule Doesn't Always Hold Up

Posted: May 14, 2013 3:20 pm





Tags: Louisiana, Michael Morton, John Thompson

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Texas Exoneree Third to Marry In Three Months

Posted: May 23, 2013 2:40 pm





Tags: Texas, Randy Arledge, David Wiggins, Michael Morton

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Michael Morton Documentary to Screen at Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Posted: June 14, 2013 8:45 am





Tags: New York, Michael Morton

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60 Minutes Features Michael Morton

Posted: June 24, 2013 5:00 pm





Tags: Texas, Government Misconduct, Michael Morton

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Despite Misconduct, Prosecutors Rarely Held Accountable

Posted: August 2, 2013 12:20 pm





Tags: Michael Morton, John Thompson

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Texas State Bar Association Seeks to Discipline Michael Morton's Prosecutor

Posted: September 3, 2013 2:00 pm





Tags: Texas, Government Misconduct, Michael Morton

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Michael Morton Prosecutor Resigns

Posted: September 24, 2013 6:05 pm





Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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Time to Change the Clemency Process in Texas

Posted: October 17, 2013 2:25 pm





Tags: Texas, Death Penalty, Michael Morton, Cameron Todd Willingham

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Michael Morton's Prosecutor Enters Plea to Contempt for Misconduct

Posted: November 8, 2013 5:30 pm





Tags: Michael Morton

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Tune-In: CNN Films Premieres An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story

Posted: December 4, 2013 3:10 pm





Tags: Texas, Michael Morton

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Texas Exoneree Says Hold Prosecutors Accountable

Posted: August 22, 2014 12:50 pm





Tags: Texas, Government Misconduct, Michael Morton, Cameron Todd Willingham

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