Another Texas conviction overturned – prosecutor will be investigated for evidence tampering


Michael Morton in the middle

State District Judge Louis Sturns of Tarrant County will lead a court of inquiry into complaints of prosecutorial misconduct against former Williamson County prosecutor Ken Anderson, who won a murder conviction in 1987 against a defendant who spent 25 years in prison before he was exonerated by DNA evidence.

Michael Morton was convicted of fatally beating his wife in their Austin home in 1986. Attorneys say the wrongful conviction would not have happened if Anderson, who is now a Williamson County state district judge, had not deliberately withheld evidence that indicated Morton’s innocence.

“This is a historic moment for Texas justice,” said John Raley, the Houston lawyer who has worked pro bono on Morton’s case for seven years. “We are confident that Judge Sturns will handle this important case with the seriousness and probity demonstrated by Judge [Sid] Harle and [Texas Supreme Court Chief] Justice [Wallace] Jefferson…”

Last week, Harle recommended that Jefferson appoint such a court after he decided that there was probable cause to believe that Anderson should face charges of contempt of court, tampering with evidence and tampering with government records…

Morton contended during his 1987 trial that his wife’s killer must have entered their home after he left for work about 5:30 a.m. Anderson told the jury that Morton, who had no criminal history, beat his wife to death in a perverted rage because she denied him sex. Meanwhile, Morton’s lawyers say, Anderson was concealing evidence that pointed to the very scenario Morton described.

Morton was sentenced to life in prison but continued to maintain his innocence. Starting in 2005, he pleaded with the court to test DNA on a collection of evidence, including a bandanna found near his home shortly after the murder.

Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley fought the request for DNA testing, based on advice from Anderson. In 2010, though, a Texas court ordered the testing. The results showed Christine Morton’s blood on the bandanna mixed with the DNA of Mark A. Norwood, a felon who lived near the Mortons at the time.

A Williamson County grand jury indicted Norwood this month. Norwood’s DNA has also been identified on a pubic hair found at the scene of the similar murder in 1988 in Austin…

The Innocence Project probably could spend all their time in Texas and Illinois – and that would cover 99% of those convicted illegally of violent crimes. Do we have any states left where the justice system considers protecting the innocent as important as getting a high conviction rate?

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5 comments

  1. E Trams

    No telling how many innocent people are in jail unjustly due to liars and a corrupt Judiciary in New Mexico. At least in Texas people are getting their lives given back to them. One day, I hope, my name is cleared and the liars who lied about me find themselves in jail forever. I doubt it will happen because it involves Senator Tom Udall, Attorney General Gary King, a couple of Secretaries of State, former Congressman, Governor and US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson, a couple of corrupt Santa Fe police chiefs (one who is now in jail or just got out), a District Attorney or two, a Los Alamos Nuclear Scientist Laboratory employee, and some VERY VERY corupt/unethical Judges. Will they become victims one day? I doubt it as long as they can sweep.

    And the liars? Well they are still living off campaign contributions that they collect as they continue to run for political office after losing time and again and by suing people frivilously (forty plus times now?) in clear site of said corrupt Judiciary. They also are still falsely accusing people of crime everytime they need to discredit/silence people who are onto their ongoing scams. Their pattern of scams is well documented on http://www.nmcourts.com – also in clear site of prosecutors who will do nothing because they have their own skeletons, dirt and political careers at stake.

    How many victims are the liars going to be allowed? The number continues to grow…

    (one day the Innocense Project will hopefully focus on Santa Fe New Mexico and these two liars – the day cannot come soon enough for past current and future victims)

    • E Trams

      Slight correction, now in jail or just got out was in regard to a Santa Fe Sheriff who is involved.

      Oh, did I mention the subpoened witness who was threatened after she testified. She lived in fear for the rest of her life. And, I was meant to mention the threatening letter sent in the US MAIL/POSTAL system to my relatives by the liars.

      There is more but I am suffering from the liars consequences at the moment and need to take care of the immediate situation before I post that information which among other things involves my 14th Amendment Constitutional Rights. I am forced to deal with the consequences of the liars actions on a daily basis and have for over a decade now.

  2. moss

    Reading the article, there’s a new subset of corruption and opportunism resulting from decades of the crimes committed by Texas “justice”. There are now lawyers building cases to free the innocent in Texas whose prime goal is to profit from overturning convictions. There are ambulance chasers looking for convicted inmates to free them from injustice, sue the state for compensation – and take a giant piece of the settlement.

    Groups like the Innocence Project shouldn’t be confused with these creeps. Any more than honest cops shouldn’t be compared to the thugs in this case.

    • E Trams

      Excellent point. And I will add there are some lawyers that need to be in jail as well (along with some prosecutors). I certainly did not mean to disparage the “honest” cops in my first comments for there are some outstanding men and women in blue.

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