Bradley will stay on as prosecutor in Morton case

Posted in District Attorney, Williamson County at 9:29 am by wcnews

Via the AAS, Bradley remains on case as details emerge about suspect ID’d with DNA.

A judge Tuesday denied a defense request to remove Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley from the Michael Morton case in the wake of new DNA evidence that has raised questions about Morton’s 1987 conviction for his wife’s murder.

The hourlong hearing was more notable for intriguing details that emerged about the DNA evidence, which was found on a bandanna containing the blood and hair of the murder victim, Christine Morton.


Stubblefield said he was confident that the district attorney’s office and investigators would conduct a proper investigation. But the judge warned that he wanted no foot dragging, and he set a Sept. 27 court date to receive a progress report.

“What I do not want to happen is for there to be a protracted, long period of investigation,” Stubblefield said, adding that he plans to be “very tough” on both sides when it comes to sharing evidence that could point to Morton’s guilt or innocence.

“We must all have the courage to learn the facts and let them lead the way,” he said.

It’s really no surprise that a judge in Williamson County did not want to take the Williamson County DA off of this case.

Now that that’s settled, everyone at the prosecutor’s office needs to work finding out the truth in this case. Because if Williamson County put the wrong man in jail 25 years ago, a huge injustice has been done to the Morton family, and the real killer is still at large.

Here’s KXAN’s report from last night.

Bradley will remain on Morton case: kxan.com

[UPDATE]: Grist has more, ‘Innocence trumps’ when prosecutors can’t destroy evidence.

The real murderer might have been identified six years ago if Mr. Bradley hadn’t fought DNA testing tooth and nail. Indeed, as regular Grits readers know, Bradley would likely have preferred DNA evidence had been destroyed outright to avoid exactly this outcome. In a now redacted string on the prosecutors’ user forum (which Grits saved and uploaded here), Bradley advocated seeking DNA destruction as part of plea agreements on the grounds that “Innocence … has proven to trump most anything.” “A better approach,” he said, “might be to get a written agreement that all the evidence can be destroyed after the conviction and sentence. Then, there is nothing to test or retest.” That stance was one of the reasons Texas senators criticized the Williamson DA before rejecting his confirmation this spring as chair of the Forensic Science Commission.

If the defense in this case was “grasping at straws,” as Mr. Bradley derisively told the media all these years, they sure latched onto a strong one. I have a hard time imagining the courts will uphold Mr. Morton’s conviction in the face of a conclusive DNA match to someone else.

On one point, Bradley was right: “Innocence has proven to trump most anything.” But his conclusion from that observation was downright perverse. That means innocence claims, where they credibly exist, should be vigorously and rapidly pursued, not that evidence should be destroyed in order to reduce appellate opportunities and to make sure that actual innocence can never be established. The Michael Mortons of the world deserve better. Indeed, all of us do.

Further Reading:
A tragic story.

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