Tribpedia: Texas Court Of Criminal Appeals

Death Sentence Thrown Out in 2005 Murder Case

Manuel Velez was convicted of killing his girlfriend’s infant son in 2005.
Manuel Velez was convicted of killing his girlfriend’s infant son in 2005.

A death sentence was reversed for Manuel Velez, who is convicted of first-degree murder for the death of his girlfriend's son. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the sentence because of inaccurate expert testimony given during Velez's sentencing.

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.

Top Criminal Court to Hear Hank Skinner's DNA Plea

The latest installment in death row inmate Hank Skinner's decade-long quest for DNA testing comes today as his lawyers argue to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that a change in state law should allow the tests he hopes will prove he is innocent. State lawyers argue that Skinner had his chance at DNA testing and is just trying to delay the inevitable.

Woman Challenges Murder Conviction, Scent Lineup

Lawyers for Megan Winfrey will argue to the state's highest criminal court on Wednesday that the 24-year-old woman should be exonerated of the 2004 murder of a high school custodial worker. They say the conviction was based largely on unreliable evidence from a scent lineup.

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.

The Cues Voters Use to Elect Unknown Candidates

Most voters probably don't know a thing about Elsa Alcala. She's running to keep a seat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that Gov. Rick Perry appointed her to this year. Not knowing anything about her won't stop many people from voting for Alcala, though. Every election, voters choose and reject dozens of candidates they know nothing about. 

Murray Burr (l) and Megan Winfrey
Murray Burr (l) and Megan Winfrey

Dogs' Evidence Stands as Woman Waits in Prison

Like her father and brother, Megan Winfrey was charged in connection with the murder of a high school janitor in 2004. Unlike them, she's serving a life sentence — largely because of dog-sniffing evidence considered so unreliable by the courts that her brother and father were acquitted. So why is she still behind bars?

Judge and former prosecutor Ken Anderson speaks about the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton.
Judge and former prosecutor Ken Anderson speaks about the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton.

In Deposition, Morton Prosecutor Can't Recall Details

Ken Anderson, the former district attorney who prosecuted Michael Morton, said during a nine-hour, two-day deposition that he remembered few details from the 25-year-old case and that he did not commit wrongdoing when he secured a murder conviction against an innocent man.

Mark Norwood mug shot from arrest Nov. 9, 2011
Mark Norwood mug shot from arrest Nov. 9, 2011

Updated: Suspect in Michael Morton Case Arrested

Mark Alan Norwood, a 57-year-old Bastrop resident, was arrested today and charged with the 1986 murder of Christine Morton. Michael Morton, her husband, was exonerated of her murder last month after spending nearly 25 years in prison, when DNA connected Norwood to the Morton murder and to the murder of another Austin woman, Debra Masters Baker.

The Weekly TribCast: Episode 105

On this week's TribCast, Ross, Reeve, Brandi, and Jay review the latest criminal justice headlines, consider the difference between news and gossip in light of the latest Herman Cain developments, and explain what's going on with redistricting.

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 Investigator, Medical Examiner Testimony Public

Testimony from the Williamson County sergeant who led the investigation that resulted in Michael Morton's wrongful conviction was made public Friday, along with statements of the medical examiner refuting allegations prosecutors made during the trial about scientific evidence that proved Morton was the killer.

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.

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

Bradley Announces Special Prosecutor in Morton Case

Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley this morning announced the appointment of the Texas Attorney General as special prosecutor in the Michael Morton case. A special grand jury is also being formed, he said.

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.

Updated: Bradley Withdraws Motion to Rush Morton Case

The Williamson County district attorney this afternoon withdrew a motion he had filed seeking to quickly dismiss the Michael Morton case. Morton's attorneys worried that he was attempting to quash investigation of allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

An Interview with Texas Judge Sharon Keller

The soft-spoken and — until now — media-shy presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals sat down with The Texas Tribune last week to talk about capital punishment in Texas, what she was doing on the afternoon she closed her office at 5 p.m. to a last-minute death row appeal, the flaws in the way the state sanctions judges, what it's like to be known as Sharon “Killer” Keller and the "ridiculous" idea that she doesn't care about defendants or indigent defense.
The soft-spoken and — until now — media-shy presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals sat down with The Texas Tribune last week to talk about capital punishment in Texas, what she was doing on the afternoon she closed her office at 5 p.m. to a last-minute death row appeal, the flaws in the way the state sanctions judges, what it's like to be known as Sharon “Killer” Keller and the "ridiculous" idea that she doesn't care about defendants or indigent defense.

An Interview With Judge Sharon Keller

The soft-spoken and — until now — media-shy presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals sat down with The Texas Tribune last week to talk about capital punishment in Texas, what she was doing on the afternoon she closed her office at 5 p.m. to a last-minute death row appeal, the flaws in the way the state sanctions judges, what it's like to be known as Sharon “Killer” Keller and the "ridiculous" idea that she doesn't care about defendants or indigent defense.