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 ...

Executions, Death Sentences Drop in Texas, Nation

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This gurney is used to perform executions at Terre Haute by lethal injection.
This gurney is used to perform executions at Terre Haute by lethal injection.

Leading a national downward trend in the use of the death penalty, Texas executed just 13 prisoners so far in 2011, the lowest number in more than a decade. And juries meted out only eight new death sentences last year, the same low figure as in 2010, according to information released Thursday by the Texas Defender Service.

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

Dogs' Evidence Stands as Woman Waits in Prison

If the dog-sniffing evidence that led to the conviction of her father for conspiring to commit murder was unreliable enough for him to be released from prison, why is Megan Winfrey still serving a life sentence for the same crime based largely on the same evidence?

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Aaronson maps the growth of poverty in Texas, Aguilar on the suicide of an illegal immigrant, Galbraith on the prospect of more rolling blackouts, Grissom on a prosecutor's memory lapse, Hamilton on the prospect of public universities undergoing a sunset review, Murphy's latest awesome redistricting interactive, Ramsey on a stumbling start to the 2012 election season, Root on Rick Perry's latest populist tirade, M. Smith on the boom in for-profit teacher certification programs and Tan on the fight against cervical cancer in ... Africa: The best of our best content from November 28 to December 2, 2011.

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 DA Can't Recall Details

Judge Ken Anderson, the former prosecutor who saw to the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton, said during a marathon deposition that he remembered few of the details from the 25-year-old case and that he did nothing wrong.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramshaw and Root on the debate that dominated the nation's political news, Tan and Ramshaw on how it will affect Rick Perry's campaign, Philpott on what "oops" might mean for Perry in South Carolina, Root on what it means in Iowa, Dehn with the latest Weekend Insider video, Galbraith on the split fates of water-related constitutional amendments, Grissom on an arrest in a 1986 murder case, Hamilton on UT-Arlington's efforts to control tuition costs and M. Smith, Murphy and Gerdau on West Texas schools raising money with wind farms: The best of our best content from November 7 to 11, 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.

A Texas Issue, but Not a National One

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals took some heat off of Gov. Rick Perry when it issued a stay of execution for Hank Skinner this week. And the governor has avoided any link to another case involving two of his appointees and a botched murder prosecution in Williamson County.

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

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 Wide-Ranging Arson Review

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.

Updated: 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.

Updated: 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 Expedite 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.

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.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

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.

Updated: An Emotional Morton Thankful His Was Not a Capital Case

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.