Johnathan Silver

Johnathan Silver reports on the state’s criminal justice system for The Texas Tribune. Prior to the Tribune, Johnathan was a Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Buster Haas intern and staff reporter at the Victoria Advocate. A Fort Worth native, Johnathan graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington with bachelor’s degrees in political science and criminal justice – and a graduation mug from The Shorthorn, the campus student newspaper.

Recent Contributions

From Michael Morton's Wrongful Conviction to Exoneration (Timeline)

Michael Morton was released on a personal bond in October 2011 after spending nearly 25 years in prison for murdering his wife. DNA evidence ruled him out as Christine Morton's killer.
Michael Morton was released on a personal bond in October 2011 after spending nearly 25 years in prison for murdering his wife. DNA evidence ruled him out as Christine Morton's killer.

In the 30 years since Christine Morton was murdered, her husband Michael Morton has been wrongfully convicted of killing her and fought for sweeping changes to state law. Look back at his case and the developments since his release. 

How Michael Morton’s Wrongful Conviction Has Brought Others Justice

Michael Morton stands for his February 1987 mugshot (left) and a portrait 25 years later, taken at the Williamson County Courthouse on Feb. 6, 2013.
Michael Morton stands for his February 1987 mugshot (left) and a portrait 25 years later, taken at the Williamson County Courthouse on Feb. 6, 2013.

Thirty years ago, a Williamson County murder set in motion a shoddy prosecution that led to the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton. It's a miscarriage in justice that's still felt in the state's criminal cases.

 

Prison System Ponders $250 Million in Budget Cuts

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Central Prison Unit in Sugar Land, TX. Amid budget cuts, Texas is closing a prison unit for the first time. The historic Central Unit will close at the end of August.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice Central Prison Unit in Sugar Land, TX. Amid budget cuts, Texas is closing a prison unit for the first time. The historic Central Unit will close at the end of August.

With the 2017 state budget dance approaching, the Texas prison system is following instructions to cut 4 percent from its spending. Will that mean closing prisons and releasing more nonviolent inmates?

After Dallas Ambush, Texas Police to Push for Open Carry Changes, Funding

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday speak with state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, right, on Feb. 12, 2015, at the Texas Capitol.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday speak with state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, right, on Feb. 12, 2015, at the Texas Capitol.

Texas lawmakers brushed off the wishes of many in law enforcement when they passed open handgun carry legislation in 2015. With pro-police rhetoric flowing after numerous shootings, police groups hope the law can at least be revisited.

Investigators Identify Inmate Suspected in Prison Guard's Death

Dillion Gage Compton allegedly attacked and killed Correctional Officer Mari Johnson on Saturday, July 16th, 2016, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Dillion Gage Compton allegedly attacked and killed Correctional Officer Mari Johnson on Saturday, July 16th, 2016, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Inmate Dillion Gage Compton, 21, who worked in the prison's kitchen area, attacked and killed correctional officer Mari Johnson, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice alleged in a statement Monday.

Cornyn Bill Would Make Killing Police Officer a Federal Crime

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn wraps up his keynote address to delegates at the Republican Party of Texas convention in Dallas on May 13, 2016.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn wraps up his keynote address to delegates at the Republican Party of Texas convention in Dallas on May 13, 2016.

Days after five police officers were killed by a lone gunman in downtown Dallas, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, introduced legislation Wednesday that would make killing a police officer a federal crime.

Obama, Bush Call for Unity at Dallas Memorial

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a memorial service following the multiple police shootings in Dallas on July 12, 2016.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a memorial service following the multiple police shootings in Dallas on July 12, 2016.

President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the best way to honor the lives of the officers is for Americans to put aside their differences and unite. 

Dallas Attack Tests City's Progress in Police Relations

Flowers sit on the dash of a Dallas Area Rapid Transit police motorcycle as it is used to block off the scene where, the night before, snipers targeted police officers, killing five, after a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in downtown.
Flowers sit on the dash of a Dallas Area Rapid Transit police motorcycle as it is used to block off the scene where, the night before, snipers targeted police officers, killing five, after a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in downtown.

A fragile peace settled over Dallas one day after a sniper caused the worst loss of police officer lives since September 11, but beneath calls for unity tension simmered.