Michael Morton, 57, spent nearly 25 years in prison for murdering his wife before he was able to force Texas authorities to finally test DNA evidence that proved his innocence. Now he is demanding that the prosecutor be held accountable for withholding evidence. The problem is that the then-Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson, now a district judge in Georgetown (left).
Even after hundreds of people have shown to be wrongly convicted by DNA evidence, prosecutors continue to fight efforts of prisoners to test such evidence — even when they are willing to pay for the testing themselves.
In this case, Judge Anderson is accused of knowingly withholding exculpatory evidence that might have avoided an innocent man spending 25 years in jail for killing his wife.
For his part, Judge Anderson is contesting the authority of the court to investigate his work as a prosecutor. After long denying the right to the evidence by Morton, he is now arguing that he also lacks any right to investigate the withholding of the evidence.
Anderson’s bio on the court notes that he was selected as “Prosecutor of the Year” and “Outstanding Prosecutor Upholding Victims’ Rights.”
Every state should guarantee the testing of DNA evidence in major felony cases and allow for private testing in all cases at the cost of the accused. Notably, last year, a Texas state committee looked at the state’s first 39 DNA exonerations and found seven involved evidence suppression or other prosecutorial misconduct.
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