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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Perry Appointee Blocked DNA Evidence That Shows Convicted Man Has Been Held Wrongly For 25 Years

Michael Morton, a Texas man imprisoned for 25 years for murdering his wife, is vindicated by new DNA evidence showing a third-party intruder with a criminal record was at the scene of the crime, and the district attorney who prosecuted him, appointed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head the state’s Forensic Science Commission, also blocked testimony from Morton’s 3-year-old son that his mother’s killer was not his father, a court filing alleged Wednesday.

“These DNA results prove that Michael Morton was telling the truth all along,” said Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law. “It’s clear from the new DNA testing and other suppressed, exculpatory documents that law enforcement never followed up on numerous leads pointing to a third-party intruder, which might have solved the crime. But even more troubling, District Attorney Bradley knew about this evidence, yet kept these documents hidden in the State’s file while he fought tooth and nail to bar DNA testing.”

Perry has already come under fire for executing Cameron Todd Willingham, an almost-certainly innocent man, and was forced to commute 30 executions by his own state’s Supreme Court. John Bradley no longer heads the state Forensic Science Commission but continues to serve as the Williamson County D.A., and the Innocence Project has pushed for a judge to remove him for bias.

“Michael had to spend the last six years fighting just to get access to DNA testing. Unfortunately, we now know that the District Attorney’s office knew all along that there was a good chance that the testing might point to another perpetrator in the case,” said John Raley, a Houston lawyer who has been pro bono co-counsel for Mr. Morton since 2003. “We’re hopeful the court will appoint a new prosecutor to investigate the matter because there is now a mountain of evidence pointing to Michael’s innocence, and the entire Morton family deserves to know the truth about what happened 25 years ago.”

Bradley, for his part, said the court filing was the stuff of personal vendetta.

“It seems to me that there’s a pretty big attempt here to retaliate or make personal attacks rather than litigate in the courtroom,” Bradley said. “If the investigation shows that he is in fact innocent, then that will be the result. I don’t think, on its face, that a DNA result that shows that a piece of evidence away from crime scene immediately proves innocence. It does raise some good issues that are worthy of investigation, and we will do that,” he said.

But the district attorney has a record that smacks of politics — and allegiance to Rick Perry in particular. The governor, after all, removed three members of the Forensic Science Commission in 2009 when it looked poised to vindicate Willingham, executed in 2004. He would appear to have no qualms about using his executive authority to avoid accountability and oversight, Scheck argued.

“There’s a whole history of this. The appointments. They were on the eve [in 2009] of having a hearing with Craig Beyler,” a forensic scientist independently retained to look at the plausibility of arson in the fire Willingham was executed for starting. “An independent panel of arson experts had said the arson evidence in the Willingham case was unreliable, and there should be an investigation or audit of any other cases relying on fire marshals. Finally, when the commission was about to hear from Dr. Beyler, Governor Perry removed the chair and the co-chair and another commissioner and appointed Bradley who immediately shut down the whole preceding. There’s been a storied history of Bradley’s efforts of preventing investigations from going forward.”

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Copyright 2011 The National Memo
  • Deacon-Blue

    All this makes Perry seem unwilling or unable to correctly reason the possibilities of a given situation.

  • kurt.lorentzen

    Geez! Here’s a textbook example of ideologically driven “editorializing”. Is it a shame that an innocent man was held for 25 years for a crime he did not commit? Absolutely! Did Perry appoint a DA knowing that during his tenure a crime would be committed with this as the result? Of course not. This is scum-scraping at its finest. I would NEVER vote for Rick Perry for President. But I’ll make that decision on RELEVANT information. So was the judge to blame for allowing the evidence to be excluded? Was he or she elected or appointed? Who appointed the judge? Would they be to blame? If the judge was elected, aren’t the voters to blame? Pathetic.

  • Craig Crawford

    This is absolutely what you get when your entire Political career is based on the rungs of the ladder you choose. If you are a DA, your conviction record is the horse you ride. Do you believe for one momoent that any DA is going to shoot his horse in the head by allowing DNA testing that would reduce his conviction record? Give me a break! No one buys a ladder and cuts the rungs out once they start their respective ascent. It is not logical to do so. Unfortunately while most politicians preach one verse they are usually wiping with another. What happened to the old american tradition of doing whats right? It is more like I’ll do waht is right only if it doesn’t negatively affect my career. Something wrong with this picture in a big way. Remember when government actually represented the masses not their own political aspirations?

  • historyfan

    Perry appointed a man whose character he knew. That’s why he appointed him. These facts are relevant. Perry is a cold-blooded murderer. He could have allowed the RELEVANT facts to be considered. He could have commuted these sentences. He could have kept the forensic scientists who apparently were pointing to other evidence. A great deal of RELEVANT information was ignored or suppressed. Why didn’t law enforcement follow up on other leads? This is both hugely incompetent and bungling and, in my mind, felonious actions.

  • Seabring Crowe

    John Bradley was appointed in 2001 by Perry. Bradley started as an assistant district attorney in the same county in 1989. The district attorney in 1989 is now Judge Ken Anderson same county. Whoever the prosecutor was on the Michael Morton case is probably still working in the DA’s office, or is one of their reliable court appointed attorneys who help run the WilCo Plea Factory.

    John Bradley has a long history of questionable prosecutions. He has only been opposed in elections once. Perry knew what he was doing when he named Bradley chairman of the TFSC. There is no doubt Perry relied on Bradley to stall and railroad the commission. Perry and Bradley go back a long way with Perry having appointed Bradley to several commissions and task force over the last 10 years. Texas Trans Corridor (still alive) toll roads, private prison facilities, etc. Mike Toomey, is a lobbyists who goes from lobbying to Perry’s staff. Toomey represents Merck (Gardisil vaccine Perry attempted to mandate for all girls 11 and older) and Corrections Corporation of America (the largest private prison corporation in America.) There are 2 facilities in Williamson County (John Bradley’s county) that are owned and operated by CCA. They are T. Don Hutto Detention Ctr & Bartlett State Jail. Williamson County as well as Texas is quickly becoming a police state.

    Perry’s prayer rally reminded me of a quote: “When facism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.”


    Thanks forpointing this out. Rick Perry is a dangerous bordering on names I cannot print. Please keep up the informationcan you shre this with the refular newsppers and tv channels like msnb and cnn and ron sterwart. thanks

  • Any prosecutor that keeps an innocent person in jail or denies a person any tests that might prove innocence, then the prosecutor is not only too dishonest to keep his job, but he deserves to be put in prison himself. It is time to stop letting prosecutors have total immunity in their duties – especially when their duties do not include prosecuting and imprisoning people he knows are innocent to start with.

  • Honestly, too many cases will turn out the same way if the government actually looked into them, especially in Texas, MS, Alabama, LA, and others. This is a sad case but one that should have never taken 25 years. We need more people cases to be reviewed by an independent authority not just denial of parole based on an unfair trial. I’m glad for him, but now after 25 years, where can this man go, do, be? America is a shameful place.