Tribpedia: Innocence Project Of Texas

Tribpedia

The Innocence Project of Texas is a nonprofit organization that works to overturn wrongful convictions and secure the release of individuals imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. It also raises public awareness about the effects of wrongful convictions. 

Currently investigating more than 1,500 cases, the organization receives more than 150 letters a week requesting assistance. Notable cases include ...

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Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, speaks against the motion to adopt the Senate version of the state budget on May 4, 2011.
Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, speaks against the motion to adopt the Senate version of the state budget on May 4, 2011.

Senator Says Innocence Commission Bill is in Trouble

Two days after an advocate for a bill establishing a commission to review wrongful convictions lashed out at a state senator who voiced opposition to the bill, the measure's Senate sponsor says he doesn't have the votes to move the legislation forward.

Sen. Joan Huffman joins moderator James Henson in a discussion of law and order issues in the upcoming 83rd legislative session during the Texas Tribune Festival, 2012.
Sen. Joan Huffman joins moderator James Henson in a discussion of law and order issues in the upcoming 83rd legislative session during the Texas Tribune Festival, 2012.

Hearing on Innocence Commission Bill Draws Heated Testimony

A Senate committee hearing turned explosive on Tuesday when the brother of a wrongfully convicted man who died in prison railed against a senator who opposes the creation of an innocence commission. The brother of Tim Cole told Sen. Joan Huffman she should get another job and stormed out of a committee hearing while muttering expletives.

Senators John Whitmire, D-Houston, l, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, congratulate Michael Morton, r, at the court hearing in Georgetown on April 19, 2013.
Senators John Whitmire, D-Houston, l, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, congratulate Michael Morton, r, at the court hearing in Georgetown on April 19, 2013.

House Shows Support for Innocence Commission Bill

UPDATED: The House on Tuesday endrosed a bill that would create a state panel to investigate wrongful convictions. Similar legislation has been defeated in the past, but this time it has drawn supporters many consider unlikely, including Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson.

Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, chairman of the Texas Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, at a Sept. 4, 2012, hearing.
Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, chairman of the Texas Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, at a Sept. 4, 2012, hearing.

Bill Addresses Changing Science in Criminal Appeals

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State Sen. John Whitmire has filed a bill to make it easier for those convicted based on science that has since been discredited to appeal their sentences. Prosecutors have called the bill "unnecessary."

Elizabeth Ramirez, 38, is 15 years into a nearly 40-year sentence for the sexual assault of her two nieces. On Aug. 4, one of those nieces recanted. Attorneys at the Innocence Project of Texas are hoping to prove that Ramirez and her three friends, who are also incarcerated, never committed the crime.
Elizabeth Ramirez, 38, is 15 years into a nearly 40-year sentence for the sexual assault of her two nieces. On Aug. 4, one of those nieces recanted. Attorneys at the Innocence Project of Texas are hoping to prove that Ramirez and her three friends, who are also incarcerated, never committed the crime.

Sexual Assault Case Could Open Door for Reviews

Could wrongful convictions for sexual assault be the next frontier for Texas junk science cases? Advocates for four San Antonio women imprisoned for the sexual assault of two young girls 15 years ago say their case could open the door for reviews of medical examinations in similar convictions. 

Michael Morton stands in a Williamson County courtroom with his attorneys, John Raley of the Houston law firm Raley & Bowick, and Nina Morrison of the New York-based Innocence Project. Morton was officially exonerated Dec. 19, 2011 after spending nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder.
Michael Morton stands in a Williamson County courtroom with his attorneys, John Raley of the Houston law firm Raley & Bowick, and Nina Morrison of the New York-based Innocence Project. Morton was officially exonerated Dec. 19, 2011 after spending nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder.

Texas Among Top 3 States in Total Exonerations

Researchers at two law schools Monday released an unprecedented listing of all the exoneration cases from the last 23 years. Only two states had more exonerations than Texas, according to the report. We have a graph breaking down the exoneration cases in Texas by types of crimes, and we have a list of all the Texas exonerees.

Michael Morton hearing on February 10, 2012 at the Williamson Co. Courthouse.
Michael Morton hearing on February 10, 2012 at the Williamson Co. Courthouse.

Rusty Hardin Picked for Prosecutor in Morton Case

A Houston lawyer with a long list of high profile clients has been tapped to be the prosecutor in the court of inquiry into possible misconduct in the case of Michael Morton, who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1987.

John Bradley, Williamson County District Attorney in Georgetown, TX Friday November 11, 2011. Bradley is responsible for prosecuting felony criminal offenses that are committed in Williamson County.
John Bradley, Williamson County District Attorney in Georgetown, TX Friday November 11, 2011. Bradley is responsible for prosecuting felony criminal offenses that are committed in Williamson County.

State Bar Dismisses Bradley Misconduct Grievance

The State Bar of Texas has dismissed a grievance filed against Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley in the  case of Michael Morton, whose wrongful conviction for murder was reversed last year.

Judge Ken Anderson (l) and Michael Morton (r)
Judge Ken Anderson (l) and Michael Morton (r)

Exonerated of Murder, Morton Seeks Prosecutor Inquiry

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When Michael Morton is officially cleared of wrongful murder charges on Monday, his lawyers will try to do something unprecedented: They will ask for a special court of inquiry to determine whether former prosecutor Ken Anderson broke state laws and professional ethics rules in 1987 during the trial that put Morton away for life.

Jana Duty, TT interview December 2011.
Jana Duty, TT interview December 2011.

Jana Duty: The TT Interview

The Williamson County attorney on how the Michael Morton case inspired her to run against Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley, and her concerns that, despite Bradley professing that the now-famous innocence case has changed his outlook, policies in the office could still allow for wrongful convictions.

Forensic Science Panel Recommends Arson Probe

The momentous and long-awaited move was welcomed by the family of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was convicted of killing his three daughters in a 1991 arson fire. He was executed in 2004, and scientists have since discredited the science that was used to cement his arson conviction.

Michael Morton sits beside his mother, Patricia Morton, during an emotional press conference after a judge today agreed to release him on personal bond after he spent nearly 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife. Recently tested DNA indicates another man committed the 1986 killing.
Michael Morton sits beside his mother, Patricia Morton, during an emotional press conference after a judge today agreed to release him on personal bond after he spent nearly 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife. Recently tested DNA indicates another man committed the 1986 killing.

Ex Morton Prosecutor Loses Testimony Fight

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied a request from former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson to keep him from providing testimony in an investigation of what led to the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton.

Michael Morton sits beside his mother, Patricia Morton, during an emotional press conference after a judge agreed to release him on personal bond after he spent nearly 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife.
Michael Morton sits beside his mother, Patricia Morton, during an emotional press conference after a judge agreed to release him on personal bond after he spent nearly 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife.

Morton Prosecutor Says He is Victim of a Media War

Mike Davis, one of the original prosecutors in the 1987 murder case against Michael Morton, said in court filings today that he is the victim of a media and political war between the exonerated man's lawyers and Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley. In a 17-page motion, he apologized to Morton for the 25 years he spent wrongfully imprisoned.

Michael Morton sits beside his mother, Patricia Morton, during an emotional press conference after a judge agreed to release him on personal bond after he spent nearly 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife.
Michael Morton sits beside his mother, Patricia Morton, during an emotional press conference after a judge agreed to release him on personal bond after he spent nearly 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife.

Morton Case Sparks Calls for Texas Evidence Law Reform

Since 1994, DNA tests have exonerated 44 Texas inmates. Michael Morton, released from prison last week after 25 years, will almost certainly be the 45th. But defense lawyers and Morton’s advocates argue that under antiquated Texas discovery laws, the alleged injustices that robbed him of a quarter of a century of his life could still happen today.

Entre Nax Karage outside his home in Dallas on September 12, 2011.
Entre Nax Karage outside his home in Dallas on September 12, 2011.

Evolving Law Results in Unequal Pay to the Exonerated

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Exonerated former inmates like Entre Nax Karage have received far less compensation from the state for their time behind bars than inmates released after them. Changes in the law over the last decade have created vastly different payouts for former prisoners, leaving Karage and others feeling doubly wronged.

Left to right: Officer Mario Martinez, Sergeant R. Richman and officer L. Lyons on duty.
Left to right: Officer Mario Martinez, Sergeant R. Richman and officer L. Lyons on duty.

Report: Police Lineup Protocol Can Be Improved

In Texas, eyewitness misidentifications have accounted for 80 percent of the 44 wrongful convictions overturned through DNA evidence.  A new report released Monday urges significant changes in how police lineups are conducted.

Presiding Officer of the Texas Forensic Science Commission John Bradley during a commission meeting April 14th, 2011
Presiding Officer of the Texas Forensic Science Commission John Bradley during a commission meeting April 14th, 2011

DNA Implicates Another Man in 25-Year-Old Murder Case

New DNA test results in a 25-year-old murder case cast doubt on the conviction of Michael Morton, who was accused of killing his wife Christine in their Williamson County home on Aug. 13, 1986. Morton's attorneys have asked a court to recuse John Bradley, the district attorney and former chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, from the case, saying he fought to withhold evidence showing Morton did not murder his wife.

Texas AG Ruling May End Willingham Probe

The Texas Forensic Science Commission’s investigation of the science used to convict Cameron Todd Willingham — executed in 2004 for an arson that killed his three children — may be at an end after the state’s top attorney Friday ruled that the panel cannot consider evidence in cases older than 2005.

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, talks to an aide on the Senate floor on May 9, 2011.  Hinojosa is under considereation for a spot on the budget conference committee.
Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, talks to an aide on the Senate floor on May 9, 2011. Hinojosa is under considereation for a spot on the budget conference committee.

Updated: Forensic Science Commission Bill Revived

A bill that would clarify and expand the jurisdiction of the Forensic Science Commission appeared to have fizzled in the Texas House. But tonight lawmakers revived the bill and voted it out of committee.