Tribpedia: Michael Morton

Tribpedia

Michael Morton was a man wrongfully convicted of the brutal murder of his wife, Christine Morton, in 1986. He served nearly 25 years in prison before being exonerated in October 2011 when DNA evidence connected another man to the murder. 

Former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson handed Morton a life sentence in 1987 after a jury found him guilty ...

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Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs Senate Bill 1611, known as the Michael Morton Act, which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence in criminal cases. Morton served nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder before he was exonerated in 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs Senate Bill 1611, known as the Michael Morton Act, which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence in criminal cases. Morton served nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder before he was exonerated in 2011.

Prosecutors Prepare to Open Their Files

Texas Weekly

As 2014 approaches, Texas district and county attorneys are preparing to implement a new law that aims to prevent wrongful convictions by requiring prosecutors to open their files to defense lawyers. Sounds simple: Prosecutors have boxes with files that have evidence, and they just have to lift the lids and extract the papers. The reality? Not so much.

 

 

Sen. John Cornyn and Gov. Rick Perry during Cornyn's reelection campaign kickoff in Austin, Texas on November 15th, 2013
Sen. John Cornyn and Gov. Rick Perry during Cornyn's reelection campaign kickoff in Austin, Texas on November 15th, 2013

The Evening Brief: Texas Headlines for Nov. 15, 2013

Your evening reading: Cornyn earns Perry endorsement, says GOP must govern like "responsible adults"; Anderson released early from jail; two Texas Democrats break ranks with party on GOP bill to fix Affordable Care Act

Former Williamson County State District Judge Ken Anderson walks into the courtroom on Nov. 8, 2013. He was ordered to serve 10 days in jail and was forced to give up his law license.
Former Williamson County State District Judge Ken Anderson walks into the courtroom on Nov. 8, 2013. He was ordered to serve 10 days in jail and was forced to give up his law license.

Ken Anderson to Serve 9 Days in Jail

Former Williamson County State District Judge Ken Anderson, who oversaw Michael Morton’s wrongful murder conviction as a prosecutor, was sentenced to nine days in jail and will surrender his law license as part of a deal to resolve criminal charges and a civil lawsuit.

Judge Ken Anderson, l, sits at the defense table as the court of inquiry begins in Georgetown on April 19, 2013.
Judge Ken Anderson, l, sits at the defense table as the court of inquiry begins in Georgetown on April 19, 2013.

State Bar, Anderson Attorneys Make Case to Judge

Parties in a disciplinary case against the prosecutor who pursued Michael Morton’s since-overturned murder conviction will have to wait another week for a decision on whether they will go to trial.

Dennis Davis speaks during an interview at the C. T. Terrell Unit in Rosharon on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Davis is serving 36 years in prison for the 1985 murder of Natalie Antonetti.
Dennis Davis speaks during an interview at the C. T. Terrell Unit in Rosharon on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Davis is serving 36 years in prison for the 1985 murder of Natalie Antonetti.

Appeals Court Orders New Trial for Dennis Davis

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UPDATED: A Texas appeals court on Friday ordered a new trial for Dennis Davis, who is serving 36 years in prison for the 1985 murder of Natalie Antonetti of Austin. In an opinion, the 3rd Court of Appeals agreed with Davis' assertion that his trial counsel was ineffective and did not present witness testimony relevant to his case. 

 

From the Tea Party, a Softer Line in Criminal Justice

Texas Weekly

Legislators approved at least seven bills meant to prevent future wrongful convictions. Michael Morton’s ubiquitous presence and lobbying efforts helped. But both reform advocates and prosecutors agree that the increased presence of Tea Party Republicans also changed the Legislature’s attitude toward law and order.

Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs Senate Bill 1611, known as the Michael Morton Act, which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence in criminal cases. Morton served nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder before he was exonerated in 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signs Senate Bill 1611, known as the Michael Morton Act, which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence in criminal cases. Morton served nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder before he was exonerated in 2011.

Perry Signs Michael Morton Act

With exoneree Michael Morton by his side, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday signed a measure that aims to avoid wrongful convictions by preventing prosecutors from suppressing evidence.

 

 

Michael Morton cheers the unanimous passage of SB 825 in the Texas House on May 13, 2013.
Michael Morton cheers the unanimous passage of SB 825 in the Texas House on May 13, 2013.

Morton Act, DA Accountability Bill Head to Perry

House lawmakers on Tuesday approved two bills meant to ensure that wrongful convictions, like the one that Michael Morton behind bars for nearly 25 years, don't happen to others. The measures will stop next on Gov. Rick Perry's desk.

Michael Morton, at the Williamson County Courthouse on April 19, 2013, stands with state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, an author of the Senate Bill 1611, and Ellis' chief of staff, Brandon Dudley, who also worked on the legislation.
Michael Morton, at the Williamson County Courthouse on April 19, 2013, stands with state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, an author of the Senate Bill 1611, and Ellis' chief of staff, Brandon Dudley, who also worked on the legislation.

Discovery Bill Vote Comes on Brady Ruling Anniversary

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Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brady v. Maryland decision, and the Texas House is scheduled to vote on a law that some legal experts say would ensure that the ruling’s tenets are carried out to help prevent wrongful convictions. Five decades after the ruling, Texas is on the verge of requiring prosecutors to open their files.

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

House Panel Hears Testimony on "Michael Morton Act"

Just more than a week after the arrest of former prosecutor Ken Anderson, a committee of House lawmakers took up the "Michael Morton Act," which would require prosecutors to turn over evidence to defense lawyers in criminal cases.

Judge Ken Anderson, l, sits at the defense table as the court of inquiry begins in Georgetown on April 19, 2013.
Judge Ken Anderson, l, sits at the defense table as the court of inquiry begins in Georgetown on April 19, 2013.

Anderson Appeals, Citing Statute of Limitations

UPDATED: Williamson County state district Judge Ken Anderson has filed an appeal asking a court to rule that a warrant for his arrest should be void because it violates the statute of limitations.

Senate Unanimously Approves Michael Morton Act

Senators on Thursday passed Senate Bill 1611, also known as the "Michael Morton Act," which would require prosecutors to turn over evidence to defense lawyers in criminal cases. The chamber erupted in applause following the vote. Morton said had the proposed law been in place when his wife was murdered, he might not have been wrongfully convicted.

Agreement Reached on Michael Morton Act

"It looks as if we have a deal," Michael Morton said after afternoon negotiations with senators and lawyers on a measure that would require prosecutors to turn over evidence to defendants in criminal cases.

Slideshow: A Trial 26 Years Later

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A jury in March found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of the 1986 murder of Christine Morton, and he was sentenced to life in prison. This photo slideshow provides an overview of the timeline and characters in the tragic case.

Slideshow: A Trial 26 Years Later

A jury in March found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of the 1986 murder of Christine Morton, and he was sentenced to life in prison. This photo slideshow provides an overview of the timeline and characters in the tragic case.  

Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after jury selection for his trial, Mar 18, 2013.
Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after jury selection for his trial, Mar 18, 2013.

After Decades, DNA Testing and a Conviction

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The prosecutor who secured Mark Norwood's murder conviction says that if Michael Morton had not fought from prison to prove his innocence in his wife's murder, the DNA testing that led to Norwood’s conviction might not have been done. Norwood’s lawyers said that problems in the original 1986 investigation impacted their defense.

Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after jury selection for his trial, Mar 18, 2013.
Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after jury selection for his trial, Mar 18, 2013.

Tears and Relief After Norwood Found Guilty

Family members of Christine Morton and Debra Baker filled a Tom Green County courtroom with tearful hugs and relieved smiles on Wednesday after a jury found Mark Alan Norwood guilty of murder. Norwood, 58, received an automatic life sentence after the jury decided he was guilty of Morton's 1986 murder, for which her husband was wrongfully convicted. 

 

Defendant Mark Norwood enters the Tom Green County Courthouse for opening hearings, Mar 19, 2013.
Defendant Mark Norwood enters the Tom Green County Courthouse for opening hearings, Mar 19, 2013.

Norwood's Lawyers Rest Their Case in Murder Trial

After calling just three witnesses on Mark Norwood's behalf, lawyers for the man accused of killing Christine Morton in 1986 rested ther case Tuesday afternoon. Closing arguments in the capital murder trial are scheduled to begin on Wednesday morning.

Defendant Mark Norwood enters the Tom Green County Courthouse for opening hearings, Mar 19, 2013.
Defendant Mark Norwood enters the Tom Green County Courthouse for opening hearings, Mar 19, 2013.

Updated: Prosecutors Tell Norwood Jury of Second Murder

Prosecutors in the murder trial of Mark Norwood on Friday presented evidence linking him to another killing in Austin. Earlier Friday, Norwood's ex-wife took the stand and testified in front of jurors.

 

Defendant Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after the first day of his trial for the murder of Christine Morton, Mar 19, 2013.
Defendant Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after the first day of his trial for the murder of Christine Morton, Mar 19, 2013.

Death Details, Gun Testimony on Day 3 of Norwood Trial

On the third day of Mark Alan Norwood’s capital murder trial, prosecutors concluded their presentation of DNA evidence that connects him to the 1986 murder of Christine Morton. Jurors also saw graphic photos of the fatal wounds she experienced and heard from the man who bought the gun Norwood allegedly stole from the Morton's home. 

Prosecutor Lisa Tanner enters Tom Green County Courthouse on the first day of Mark Norwood's trial, Mar 19, 2013.
Prosecutor Lisa Tanner enters Tom Green County Courthouse on the first day of Mark Norwood's trial, Mar 19, 2013.

Christine Morton's Brother Testifies in Norwood Trial

Christine Morton's brother John Kirkpatrick testified Wednesday in the trial of Mark Norwood, who is accused of beating Morton to death in 1986. Kirkpatrick told jurors how he found the bandana that links Norwood to the crime.

Defendant Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after the first day of his trial for the murder of Christine Morton, Mar 19, 2013.
Defendant Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after the first day of his trial for the murder of Christine Morton, Mar 19, 2013.

Gun Buyer in Norwood Case Will Testify on Video

A former Austin construction company owner who once employed alleged murderer Mark Alan Norwood will tell jurors in a videotaped deposition that Norwood sold him a pistol that was stolen when Christine Morton was killed. Prosecutors say the gun and DNA evidence link Norwood to the killing.