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Morton Case Shows Need for Discovery Reform (NACDL News)
By Jack King
NACDL News columns.
The filing in December of a report by lawyers for DNA exoneree Michael Morton, released this fall after serving nearly a quarter-century for a murder he did not commit, underscores the necessity of reforming the discovery process in America’s criminal justice system.
Morton, a former supermarket manager in Austin, Texas, was convicted of murdering his wife in 1986. His lawyers, Barry C. Scheck and Nina Morrison of the Innocence Project, John Wesley Raley of Houston, and Gerald Goldstein and Cynthia Hujar Orr of San Antonio, allege that the prosecutor in the case withheld evidence that pointed toward an unknown assailant, knowingly made false representations during Morton’s appeals, and improperly opposed the DNA test that finally exonerated their client. They are asking Judge Sid Harle to refer their report to a rare Court of Inquiry for possible ethics or criminal charges against the prosecutor, Ken Anderson, who is now a sitting state judge.
The report specifically rec
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