Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Michael Morton: The American-Statesman's Chuck Lindell on how "Morton lawyers put prosecution on defence." Great read.

BACKGROUND: (Michael) Morton was the victim of serious prosecutorial misconduct that caused him to lose 25 years of his life and completely ripped apart his family. Perhaps even more tragically, we now know that another murder might have been prevented if law enforcement had continued its investigation rather than building a false case against Mr. Morton,” said Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law. “This tragic miscarriage of justice must be fully investigated and steps must be taken to hold police and prosecutors accountable.” In August, the Innocence Project announced that DNA testing on a bandana found near the Morton’s home where the murder occurred contained the blood of the victim, Christine Morton, and a male other than Morton. According to the papers filed by the Innocence Project yesterday, new DNA testing has connected the male DNA on the bandana to a hair that was found at the crime scene of a Travis County murder that was conducted with a similar modus operandi after Morton was incarcerated. Morton always maintained that the murder was committed by a third-party intruder. In the filing, the Innocence Project charges that Morton would never have been convicted of the crime if the prosecution had turned over as required evidence pointing to his innocence. Newly discovered evidence that was uncovered through a Public Records Act request that was not given to the defense includes: • A transcript of a taped interview by the chief investigator, Sgt. Don Wood, with the victim’s mother where the mother says that the couple’s three-year-old child witnessed the murder and provided a chilling account of watching a man who was not his father beat Christine to death. • A handwritten telephone message to Williamson County Sherriff’s Office (WCSO) Sgt. Wood dated two days after the murder reporting that what appeared to be Christine Morton’s missing Visa card was recovered at the Jewel Box store in San Antonio, with a note indicating that a police officer in San Antonio would be able to identify the woman who attempted to use the card. • A report by WCSO officer Traylor that a neighbor had “on several occasions observed a male park a green van on the street behind [the Morton’s] address, then the subject would get out and walk into the wooded area off the road.” • An internal, typewritten WCSO message to Sgt. Wood and follow up correspondence reporting that a check made out to Christine Morton by a man named John B. Cross was cashed with Christine’s forged signature nine days after her murder. The Innocence Project. (Morton's lawyers contend the Williamson County District Attorney at the time, Ken Anderson, withheld evidence that would have exonerated Morton. Lawyers have questioned Anderson, now a district judge, and others involved in the case to determine if there was misconduct involved. That process continues.)

STORY: "Morton lawyers put prosecution on defence" published in the American-Statesman on December 6, 2011;

GIST: "Combining tenacity with legal creativity, lawyers for Michael Morton are doing something that has never been attempted in the nation's 280 previous DNA exoneration cases: They're investigating the prosecutor who sent Morton away for a murder he did not commit. Armed with court-given power not typically available to defense lawyers, Morton's legal team has pried open investigative files and forced former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson to answer questions under oath and against his will. The team has also combed court records and interviewed current and former county officials to flesh out allegations that Anderson hid evidence that could have spared Morton from serving almost 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife, Christine. And now we know where all this effort is headed..."


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;;