Tribpedia: Texas Department Of Criminal Justice

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is the state agency responsible for managing state prisons and jails and the oversight of more than 150,000 offenders. The agency also supervises offenders released from prison on parole.

The board is composed of nine members who are appointed by the governor to staggered, six-year terms. The governor also designates one member as ...

Updated: Suspect in Michael Morton Case Arrested

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

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.

Inside Intelligence: On the Issues

Texas Weekly

The insiders answered questions from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll for the second week in a row, this time on the death penalty, education, top issues facing Texas, and whether the people they know would vote for a Mormon candidate with whom they agree on issues.

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 in October 2011 after a judge 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 in October 2011 after a judge 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.

Hank Skinner was sentenced to death for the 1993 triple slaying of his girlfriend and her two sons.
Hank Skinner was sentenced to death for the 1993 triple slaying of his girlfriend and her two sons.

Skinner Lawyer: DNA Decision Likely Up to State Court

Following a hearing today in federal court in Amarillo, a lawyer for death row inmate Hank Skinner said it will likely be up to the state courts to decide a fight over DNA testing in his case. Skinner is scheduled to be executed Nov. 9.

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 Lawyers: Former DAs' Claims "Wholly Deficient"

Michael Morton's legal team responded today to claims from the exonerated man's original prosecutors that they cannot be forced to testify as part of an inquiry into how Morton was wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife.

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 in October 2011 after a judge 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 in October 2011 after a judge 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.

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

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.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 10/3/11

Murphy, Ramshaw and Root on Rick Perry and race, Philpott on Perry's vague economic plans, Tan and Wiseman on Barack Obama's foray into Texas to defend his jobs plan, Aguilar on Perry's proposal to send U.S. troops to Mexico, Ramshaw on efforts to leash rising health care costs, M. Smith on upcoming legal challenges to the state's school finance system, Aaronson interactively explores Medicare spending proposals, Galbraith on efforts to pass — and to oppose — a $6 billion water program, Grissom on the release of a man wrongly convicted of murder and Hamilton on efforts to let the public write some legislation: The best of our best content from October 3 to 7, 2011.

Michael Morton sits beside his mother, Patricia Morton, during an emotional press conference in October 2011 after a judge 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 in October 2011 after a judge 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.

DNA Evidence Leads to Morton's Release After 25 Years

After an emotional day in court, Michael Morton left prison today, almost 25 years after he was convicted of murdering his wife. His release came after prosecutors agreed his conviction should be overturned based on the results of recent DNA testing.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 9/26/11

Aaronson on the shrinking of state government, Aguilar on the controversy over in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants, Galbraith on Rick Perry vs. the EPA, Grissom on a startling development in a 25-year-old murder case, Hamilton on Ken Starr's first year as president of Baylor, Ramsey on what inmates have to do with redistricting, Ramshaw on the state's crisis in insurance coverage, Root on Perry's presidential grind dance and Smith on obstacles to addressing childhood obesity: The best of our best content from Sept. 26-30, 2011.

Debra Jan Baker, Michael Morton (center), Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley
Debra Jan Baker, Michael Morton (center), Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley

DNA Test May Tie Morton Case to 1988 Killing

In a startling development, Travis County authorities are investigating whether an unsolved 1988 killing of an Austin woman is related to the 1986 murder of Christine Morton, for which her husband, Michael Morton, is serving life in prison. 

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

Travis County May Hold Key to Solving Morton Murder

Travis County prosecutors on Monday provided “powerful evidence” to a Williamson County district court that could be crucial in exonerating Michael Morton of the 1986 murder of his wife.

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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How much Texas pays exonerated prisoners depends largely on when they were released and applied for compensation. Changes in the law over the last decade have created vastly different payouts for former prisoners, leaving some 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.

Death row inmate Duane Buck, Texas Department of Criminal Justice photo
Death row inmate Duane Buck, Texas Department of Criminal Justice photo

With Execution Set, Perry Faces Further Scrutiny

Tonight, Texas is scheduled to execute its 11th death row inmate this year. As Matt Largey of KUT News reports, controversy surrounding the inmate's case could put the spotlight back on Gov. Rick Perry's death penalty record, which has received national attention in recent weeks.