Michael Morton: Cleared of Murder By DNA, Bill Would Extend Time He Could Sue Over Prosecutor Misconduct
Imagine being accused and convicted of killing your wife and being stuck in a jail cell and missing out on Michael Jordan, Y2K and Avatar. It must suck, especially when you didn't do it and there are others driving around in their white Broncos and writing books on how if they did it, how they would (But the glove didn't fit!).
Morton's case has drawn national attention.
Michael Morton spent 25 years in prison for murdering his wife, until he was freed in October 2011 after DNA evidence pointed to someone else doing the deed.
What's worse is that Morton's lawyers believe that Judge Ken Anderson, the one who prosecuted Morton, was intentionally hiding evidence. (Gasp.)
Morton may soon get his retribution. Senator John Whitmire recently filed a bill that would adjust the grievance period for those who are wrongfully convicted to allege prosecutorial misconduct. The statute of limitations runs from once the trial begins, but the bill hopes to change that.
"Basically, it allows the statute of limitations to run once the person ... has been found to be wrongfully convicted [and is] out of prison," said Whitmire's policy director, Larance Coleman. "He has a better chance of completing his grievance against the prosecutor at that time."
Whitmire issued this statement:
The Michael Morton case is a prime example of the imperfections of our justice system. This is a common-sense policy to advance justice to those who have been wrongfully convicted.
With this bill, those who were wrongfully convicted will have more time to gather evidence to support their claim of innocence.
"[Morton's case] was one that basically pointed out the problem with the statute of limitations and the bar grievance disciplinary codes," Coleman said.
Morton issued his own statement regarding Whitmire's bill:
I appreciate Senator Whitmire filing this legislation. This is an important step to ensuring that even when delayed, justice should always be served. As long as somebody is in prison as a result of fraudulent or illegal activity from an overzealous prosecutor, they shouldn't have their ability to have their day in court taken from them.
Anderson has since apologized to Morton, and in a special court of inquiry in early February, Morton asked that the court "be gentle" to Anderson. No matter how nice of a guy Morton may be (and that's pretty damn nice, all considering), payback may be coming soon.