AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Gov. Rick Perry signed the Michael Morton Act Thursday which will help prevent wrongful convictions in Texas.
Gov. Perry held a special ceremony to sign Senate Bill 1611 into law. The governor was joined by Sens. Rodney Ellis and Robert Duncan, Reps. Senfronia Thompson and Tryon Lewis, and Michael Morton for the bill signing.
The Michael Morton Act would compel prosecutors to share case files with defense attorneys that can help defendants' cases.
It is named in honor of Michael Morton, who spent 25 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of killing his wife. The district attorney in his case, now a Texas judge, is facing charges he deliberately withheld evidence from Morton's defense.
The proposal sailed through the Senate and House and has been applauded by Perry.
“Texas is a law-and-order state, and with that tradition comes a responsibility to make our judicial process as transparent and open as possible,” Gov. Perry said. “Senate Bill 1611 helps serve that cause, making our system fairer and helping prevent wrongful convictions and penalties harsher than what is warranted by the facts.”