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.
Source: LA Times as first seen on ABA Journal
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47 thoughts on “Judge and Former Prosecutor of the Year Accused Of Withholding Evidence That Sent Innocent Man To Jail For 25 Years”
Mike Sheck … Mic Check … 😉
“Happens all the time. What makes this news?” -Oro Lee
“What makes this news” is that it is news. We shouldn’t let it happen “all the time.” We need to say “no more” to corruption, fraud, theft… and all the things that for too long we’ve let pass as “business as usual.” This is one American who is sick of it…
Glenn Greenwald addresses our two-tiered justice system in his new book “With Liberty and Justice for Some.” It’s well worth the read. Start prosecuting these guys. No more slaps on the wrist. These guys need to “do time” for their crimes. Jill said it well.
You said it well too…. No more slaps on the damn wrist!
Schek, at least I didn’t say Shreck, or even worse, Shrek… ;-(
Sheck, Sheck, Sheck… Does anyone recall a quiet, unimposing figure sitting with OJ throughout the trial, never mentioned by name, who some might have thought to be OJ’s handler throughout the trial?
That was Bob Blasier, out of Sacramento, who had been working DNA defenses long before Sheck made it as big an issue as it is today.
To paraphrase Barbara Mandrell and George Jones, “Bob was DNA, when DNA wasn’t cool.”
The toxins of power impair one’s ability to think justly, and that impairment increases with time if left untreated. Modern society needs a vaccine to help those exposed.
I am in a situation tryin to expose that very same thing but when you aren’t one of the powerful, NOBODY will listen to you.
Yes, this does happen frequently. It would stop happening pretty quickly if criminal charges were levied against prosecutors who do it. It is only when the powerful realize they will be held accountable for their actions that they will clean up their act.
It is evil to knowingly send an innocent person to prison. He should resign and face criminal charges.
Could not have said it better myself. The powerful take advantage of the weak or poor and something really needs to be done about this. BUT money rules, and that is highly unlikely to happen.
Oro lee, if it happens all the time, it actually isn’t news. That’s like saying everytime I eat a meal, it’s news. This is a way of life for prosecutors, it’s not news. They railroad defendants daily.
The judicial system should be beyond reproach but I get the impression some judges think this is synonmous with abopve the law.
Every single case of such outrages should result in disbarment at the very least for the guilty parties as clearly the judicial system is incapable of self governance.
“I wish I understood the mindset that allows people to act this way. It seems they just want to convict somebody & are not that concerned that it be the perp. ”
I know quite a bit about this, as I have watched many episodes of ‘Law and Order’.
I think you have put your finger on the fundamental flaw inherent in the adversarial system of justice in our country. The prosecution need only present a case strong enough to convict ,, they have little or no incentive to suffer a standard of certainty. There are no “p”-values attached to a prosecution.
There is a case to be made, forgive the pun, that in this, and in its reverence for precedent, jurisprudence is anti-scientific.
It’s because court is a game to 99.999% of the prosecutors. Its about getting a win in court to solidify and enhance their political power. It’s rarely about justice although they bastardize justice by advertising their wins no matter how they got them.
“Happens all the time. What makes this news?”
That it continues to happen all the time. Duh.
Happens all the time. What makes this news?
I think you might be correct…
On another point we agree…he also is a professor…..Knowing Williamson County well….But for Scheck being on the team they would probably figure out a way to sweep this under the rug…or bury them…..
AY, Barry Schenk I believe is one of the founders of the Innocence Project. If he’s not the founder I know he does work for them.
Barry Scheck probably knows more about DNA than any lawyer in the world. His knowledge is encyclopedic and he can more than hold his own with experts when when it comes to analyzing evidence and testimony involving DNA.
Barry Scheck…..isn’t that the same guy on OJ’s dream team…His named is mentioned in the main article…
Why would any state refuse to test the DNA when it could prevent someone from being wrongly convicted? The answer lies in the head of the “prosecutor of the year”! Are they afraid of what the test may show? Yes again.
I wish I understood the mindset that allows people to act this way. It seems they just want to convict somebody & are not that concerned that it be the perp.
He has committed 2 crimes every time he does this. Besides the crime of sending an innocent man to jail there is the crime that the real bad guy is still out there to offend again.
Maybe he can go to being “Inmate of the Month”…If he withheld it and I am sure he did….he should be disbarred….but… surprisingly in Texas if you meet the qualifications of judge the day elected….then you may serve out your term…..
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