Michael Morton's former prosecutor apologizes



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Posted on November 16, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 16 at 11:31 PM

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas -- A former prosecutor has apologized for sending an innocent man to prison.

Ken Anderson, now a district judge in Williamson County, was the district attorney in 1986 who prosecuted Michael Morton.

Morton was convicted of murdering his wife Christine. He spent 25 years in prison, but was released recently after new DNA evidence proved Morton was not the killer.

Instead, the DNA linked Mark Norwood of Bastrop County to the crime.

Anderson, who is accused of among other things concealing key evidence that could have proven Morton's innocence, issued an apology on the steps of the Williamson County courthouse Wednesday afternoon.

Judge Anderson said he didn't feel it was appropriate to comment on the case while it was pending before other district judges, but now that those proceedings have essentially concluded, he wanted to publicly apologize.

Despite the apology, Anderson steadfastly denied the allegations of professional misconduct involving his office. 

Anderson says he has no plans to resign as district judge.

Read Ken Anderson's apology in its entirety below:

"Twenty-five years ago, Michael Morton was convicted of murdering his wife. The jury's verdict was based on the evidence as we knew it at the time. DNA testing was not available at the time of the trial. It is now. In hindsight, the verdict was wrong. Mr. Morton was and is innocent of that crime.

The criminal justice system is designed to protect all of us - including those accused of crimes. As district attorney at the time, as woefully inadequate as it is, I want to formally apologize for the system's failure to Mr. Morton and everyone else adversely affected by the verdict.

Up until now, I didn't feel it was appropriate to comment about this case while it was pending before other district judges. But those proceedings have essentially concluded.

There have been a number of allegations made about the professional conduct of the prosecutors, including me on this case.

In my heart, I know there was no misconduct of any sort. After the passage of 25 years, I obviously cannot recall the specific details of the trial, including pretrial discovery and conversations I had with Mr. Morton's counsel before and during the trial. But I have been able to review the trial transcript and documents from the files. Based on that review, I believe that the State's prosecution team fully complied with all orders from the court and with the law on pretrial discovery and disclosures as it existed in 1987.

My hope and prayer is that Mr. Morton will be able to move forward with his life after these incredibly tragic events."

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