Back in 1987, Michael Morton was convicted of murdering his wife. Upon being led to prison, he vowed that he was innocent, telling onlookers "I did not do this."
Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson prosecuted Michael Morton. He told the jury Morton killed his wife because she wouldn't have sex with him. There was no murder weapon or direct evidence linking Morton to the crime, but Anderson argued persuasively that Morton was violent and unremorseful.
After almost 25 years in prison, DNA evidence proved that Morton was innocent, with samples connecting a different male to his wife's slaying. Morton was freed on Oct. 4, 2011, and "60 Minutes" brought his case into the national spotlight on Sunday.
What finally gave him back his freedom last fall was DNA evidence. After fighting the district attorney's office for five years, The Innocence Project won permission to do DNA testing on a bloody bandana found near the crime scene. On it, the lab found Christine Morton's blood and the DNA of a known felon, Mark Alan Norwood, who's since been arrested for her murder. His DNA has also been matched to the crime scene of another young woman who was murdered after Christine.
Morton sat down with CBS correspondent Lara Logan, and called attention to the argument that prosecutors are given too much power. He explained how he came home in the summer of the 1986 to find his 3-year-old son Eric alone in the yard, and the body of his wife Christine in the bedroom. Right away, police suspected him.
Lara Logan: So just to be clear, from both of you, you believe that Ken Anderson, the prosecutor in Michael's case, willfully, deliberately withheld evidence.
Barry Scheck: We believe that there's probable cause to believe that he violated a court order, withheld exculpatory evidence, and violated other laws of the State of Texas.
Prosecutors shouldn't have to be told to follow law.
Page 2A of USA TODAY's March 16 issue was saddening and maddening. One article was about a man who had been wrongly jailed because his prosecutors had concealed evidence ("Justice Dept. agrees to pay $140,000 to man wrongly jailed"). The other was about prosecutor misconduct in the case of then-Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens ("Evidence hidden in Sen. Stevens' corruption case," News).
Colorado revisits law that gives prosecutors wide power to try youths as adults.
DENVER - Colorado is revisiting a law that gives prosecutors the power to charge youths as adults in serious crimes without first getting approval from a judge.
Opponents of the law, which allows district attorneys to use “direct file” in cases of murder, rape and a range of other felonies, say it gives Colorado prosecutors virtually unchecked power over juveniles and has been used too broadly over the years.
In the process, they contend, teenagers accused of midlevel crimes like robbery and burglary are too often tried as adults and saddled with felony convictions that will stay with them forever, as well as time in adult prisons.
“We have been overcriminalizing youth for many years now. It’s time we stop,” said Representative B. J. Nikkel, a Republican from Loveland and a co-sponsor of legislation that would limit a prosecutor’s authority in such cases.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/27/us/colorado-revisits-its-juvenile-crime-law.html?src=recg