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Dna Test


Submitted By Garghoyle
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DNA test shows innocent man jailed in 1986 murder, court filing says
August 17, 2011, New DNA results, combined with evidence that was improperly withheld by Williamson County prosecutors for more than two decades, indicates that an Austin-area man has spent 24 years in jail for a murder he did not commit, a court filing alleged Wednesday.
Michael Morton, now 57, was convicted in the brutal beating death of his wife, Christine Morton, and sentenced to life in prison in 1987.
But a recent court-ordered DNA test, conducted on a blood-stained bandanna over the objections of Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley, points instead to an unnamed California felon as the killer, according to court briefs filed by the Innocence Project of New York.
The court filing urged a Williamson County district judge to remove Bradley from the case, saying he cannot be trusted to oversee a reinvestigation of the killing because he has shown “unprofessional” animosity toward Michael Morton and his lawyers.
What’s more, the motion alleges, Bradley worked to keep a key piece of evidence hidden from Morton’s lawyers — a transcript of a police interview that shows the Mortons’ 3-year-old son witnessed his mother’s murder and said the attacker was not his father.
The transcript should have been provided to Morton’s defense lawyers before the trial but was not, according to the Innocence Project motion. Bradley, who was not district attorney during the trial, recently opposed releasing the transcript to the Innocence Project under the state’s open records laws, the motion said.
“Justice demands a rigorous and unbiased investigation into the true circumstances of Christine Morton’s death, and an explanation as to how her grieving husband was wrongfully charged and convicted of the crime,” the motion said.
The motion, signed by Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck and Houston lawyer John Wesley Raley, asks the court to appoint a special prosecutor to reinvestigate the case in light of the new evidence.
“Mr. Bradley surely cannot be trusted to impartially investigate the case now. Nor would any investigation headed by his office have the appearance of fairness that the law requires,” the motion said.
Bradley said he could not comment on the specifics of the Morton case because it is the subject of a pending litigation.
But Bradley took strong exception to the Innocence Project’s contention that he could not properly investigate the new evidence and criticized what he called personal attacks disguised as court documents.
“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.”
Bradley said the new information will be followed up and investigated.
“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.
NOTE: Actual court brief is attached )

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