Tribpedia: Rodney Ellis

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.

How Michael Morton’s Wrongful Conviction Has Brought Others Justice

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.

 

Former state Rep. Lon Burnam, a candidate for the Texas Railroad Commision, thanks Jim Hightower at his campaign kickoff at Scholz Garten on January 28, 2016.
Former state Rep. Lon Burnam, a candidate for the Texas Railroad Commision, thanks Jim Hightower at his campaign kickoff at Scholz Garten on January 28, 2016.

Democrats' Alliance with Battleground Texas Shows Strains Ahead of Elections

While many Democrats have mixed feelings about the group that helped lead the party's election efforts in 2014, Battleground Texas officials still believe in their long-term strategy to turn Texas blue. 

State Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, speaks at a press conference on payday lending bills April 29, 2015. He is flanked by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, left, and Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, to his right.
State Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, speaks at a press conference on payday lending bills April 29, 2015. He is flanked by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, left, and Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, to his right.

Lawmakers Lend an Ear to Concerns Over Payday Loans

Lawmakers from both chambers gathered Wednesday to lend support to a range of bills that would limit the loan size and number of installments offered by payday and auto title lenders.

State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, talks with a member on the House floor on May 16, 2011.
State Rep. Van Taylor, R-Plano, talks with a member on the House floor on May 16, 2011.

Ethics Legislation Headed to Senate Floor

A heavily watered-down ethics reform bill will soon be taken up by the full Senate. Lawmakers on Monday rejected an amendment that would have required legislators to publicly disclose their tax returns each year.

 

State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation legislative orientation session on Jan. 7, 2015.
State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, speaking at the Texas Public Policy Foundation legislative orientation session on Jan. 7, 2015.

Senate OKs Bill That Would Tighten Spending Cap

The Senate passed a bill Thursday that would tighten the state's constitutional spending cap and make it tougher for future legislatures to break it. Senate Bill 9, by Sen. Kelly Hancock, passed with a vote of 19-12. 

 

An exterior view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas on Oct. 1, 2014.
An exterior view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas on Oct. 1, 2014.

The Brief: Oct. 2, 2014

On the day after the country's first case of an Ebola infection appeared in Dallas, the focus has turned to the hospital where the patient was initially sent home with antibiotics before being admitted a second time for treatment.

UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announces his resignation on Feb. 10, 2014.
UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announces his resignation on Feb. 10, 2014.

Cigarroa, Board to Confer About Powers' Future

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa will confer with the system's board of regents on Thursday about how to handle University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers' refusal to resign this year.

 

Texas charter school children and supporters rallied at the Texas Capitol to lobby the Legislature for more funding on May 8, 2013.
Texas charter school children and supporters rallied at the Texas Capitol to lobby the Legislature for more funding on May 8, 2013.

The Brief: Jan. 8, 2014

The Tribune's Morgan Smith has a must-read piece on what's next for the education reform group funded by tort reform champions that left a big imprint on policy debates during last year's legislative session.

State Rep. John Carona holds up his right hand during his first swearing-in ceremony for the 72nd Legislature on January 8, 1991.
State Rep. John Carona holds up his right hand during his first swearing-in ceremony for the 72nd Legislature on January 8, 1991.

Slideshow: Sen. John Carona Through the Years

Take a photographic trip through Sen. John Carona's career in the Texas Legislature, from his swearing in as a freshman House member in 1991 to his chairmanship of the powerful Senate Committee on Business & Commerce.  

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.

Victim Advocate for the City of Houston Andy Kahan, with crime scene photos printed off websites showing dead bodies, many unclothed, in his office at the Houston Police Department in Houston, Monday May 6, 2013.
Victim Advocate for the City of Houston Andy Kahan, with crime scene photos printed off websites showing dead bodies, many unclothed, in his office at the Houston Police Department in Houston, Monday May 6, 2013.

Bill Would Curb Access to Photos of Murder Victims

UPDATED: The legislation authored by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, that would require court approval for most requests to view or copy crime scene photos that show murder victims passed the Senate Monday without debate. 

Senators John Whitmire, D-Houston, left, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, congratulate Michael Morton, right, at a court hearing in Georgetown on April 19, 2013. That day, a judge issued an arrest warrant for former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson, after finding probable cause to believe Anderson withheld critical evidence in Michael Morton's 1987 murder trial.
Senators John Whitmire, D-Houston, left, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, congratulate Michael Morton, right, at a court hearing in Georgetown on April 19, 2013. That day, a judge issued an arrest warrant for former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson, after finding probable cause to believe Anderson withheld critical evidence in Michael Morton's 1987 murder trial.

House Shows Support for Innocence Commission Bill

UPDATED: The House on Tuesday endorsed 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.

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, c, discusses SB 1292 on pre-trial DNA testing March 19, 2013 with Sen. Robert Duncan, l, and Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott.
Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, c, discusses SB 1292 on pre-trial DNA testing March 19, 2013 with Sen. Robert Duncan, l, and Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott.

Senate Committee Passes DNA Testing Bill

UPDATED: Attorney General Greg Abbott is supporting a bill by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, that would require DNA testing of "all biological evidence" in cases where prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Interactive: Texas Senators' 2011 Spending

Texas senators cut their expenses by just 1 percent from August 2010 to 2011 — a total of $101,000. That’s not much compared to more than $1 million they saved in 2010. Use our interactive to find details on senators' 2011 spending. 

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.

Experts Say Morton Case Shows Justice System Still Needs Reform

In the wake of Michael Morton's release from prison last week based on DNA testing that shows someone else killed his wife 25 years ago, defense lawyers are calling for reforms to ensure prosecutors must turn over exculpatory evidence.