TEXAS LAW ENFORCEMENT SCANDAL REVEALS BANKRUPT CULTURE – What should be done about it?
Prosecutor Ken Anderson willfully used the power of the government to put an innocent man, Michael Morton, in prison for 25 years for the bludgeoning death of Morton’s wife.
It gets worse.
His court-ordered punishment for this outrageous conduct is only 10 days in jail, a $500 fine, and loss of his law license.
It gets worse.
By willfully choosing to prosecute a man Anderson knew was innocent, Anderson consciously chose to give the real murderer a free pass to continue his ways. Anderson hasn’t admitted his motives, but the act itself virtually condones murder and encourages more of the same.
Police who gathered the evidence apparently remained silent when Morton was being prosecuted. They, too, should have prevented this outrage by speaking out about the clear injustice.
Police should have been trying to find the real killer. However, the culture of prosecution and conviction trumped the truth and continued to maliciously persecute an innocent man.
Williamson County, about 30 miles north of Austin, has long been known for its horribly aggressive prosecution. Perhaps that’s part of the reason to stay quiet. If a District Attorney will pursue the innocent, what would he do to someone who exposes his crime?
It gets even worse.
The real murderer, Mark Alan Norwood, apparently killed another woman after being given the free pass by Anderson.
Texas Monthly gave chilling details. During Norwood’s 2013 trial for killing Morton’s wife, evidence of an “eerily similar murder” was presented. Morton and the other victim, Debra Masters Baker, were both “iin their thirties, had three-year-old children, and long brown hair. They were both murdered on the thirteenth of the month, on Wednesdays, in their water beds. The perpetrator had entered both homes through unlocked, sliding-glass doors at the rear of the house, had emptied the women’s purses, and had stolen the cash inside. The killer had also stolen one big-ticket item—in the Morton case, a .45 Colt Commander, and in the Baker case, a VCR—while leaving jewelry that was out in the open undisturbed. Both women had been bludgeoned to death—Christine with eight blows to her head, Debra with at least six blows to her head. Both had small “defensive wounds,” or injuries that resulted from attempts to fend off their attacker, on their left arms. They were both found with pillows over their faces. Neither had been sexually assaulted.”
See the whole thing here: http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/mark-alan-norwood-found-guilty-christine-mortons-murder
How many more murders did Norwood commit? Who knows? Evidently, Anderson wasn’t concerned about stopping a murderer. Norwood remained free until 2011.
What was going through Anderson’s mind all those years he knew a killer was free because of Anderson’s acts?
It gets worse.
Anderson’s protege and successor as District Attorney, John Bradley, resisted Morton’s attempt to review evidence, including DNA, which ultimately exonerated Morton.
Bradley’s resistance costs Morton almost 7 more years in prison. Bradley’s resistance also delayed identifying Norwood as the real killer, which happened shortly after the DNA testing was finally performed. Norwood was free at the time.
Why is actual innocence a threat to a prosecutor? It wouldn’t cost the state any money to agree to the DNA test, and justice could be served.
Had there been no DNA evidence, Morton would never have been believed.
Bradley even wrote on a prosecutors’ internet forum about his idea to get a written agreement from defendants to destroy all evidence after being convicted and sentence so there would be nothing to retest. His apparent reason was “Innocence has proven to trumps most anything.” Source: gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com.
Making sure a wrongful conviction sticks is clearly more important to Bradley than freeing the innocent. A review of the thread reveals other prosecutors apparently think destroying DNA evidence is a good idea so reviews like Morton’s won’t happen.
Apparently, some prosecutors don’t want pesky things like actual innocence interfering with the conviction machine they run. Wickedness cannot be more eloquently described.
It gets worse.
Even after DNA identified the real killer, Bradley fought against Morton’s exoneration. It took the stunningly similar evidence of the murder of Debra Masters Baker to finally get him to relent. The worst case scenario about injustice is real, true, and here in Texas.
Bradley has since lost his re-election bid after he claimed he helped free Morton.
Justice has been perverted in several ways in this fiasco.
It can get better.
I have an idea which may help bring some semblance of justice in this one case. Regrettably, it won’t happen. Justice would require Anderson never experience a free day the rest of his life.
Justice would be served by charging Anderson with the murder of Debra Masters Baker. You read that right. Charge Ken Anderson with the murder of Debra Masters Baker and make him defend himself. He is clearly responsible for her death. Perhaps the same could be done against others participating in the fiasco.
Ultimately, charging and trying Anderson may not secure a conviction, but why not find out whether it will stick? He clearly did much worse to the innocent with no good reason. He’d still be treated better than he treated Morton.
Under Texas Penal Code, Sec. 7.02, known as “the law of parties”, people with little connection to a felony can be found guilty and even be punished more severely than the principal actor of the crime.
It reads, “A person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by the conduct of another if…” and continues to describe various ways it may be applied.
One such way to charge Anderson through 7.02 is guilt through “…having a legal duty to prevent commission of the offense and acting with intent to promote or assist in its commission, he fails to make a reasonable effort to prevent commission of the offense.”
Another way the statute could apply is this: “If, in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators, all conspirators are guilty of the felony actually committed, though having no intent to commit it, if the offense was committed in furtherance of the unlawful purpose and was one that should have been anticipated as a result of the carrying out of the conspiracy.”
Clearly, Anderson was not acting alone. Police were participating in the railroading of an innocent man, which makes it plain they were assisting the real murderer.
Bradley continued the conspiracy by resisting every attempt to expose the truth of it, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to learn he did so at the behest of Anderson.
In my review of this matter, only rarely have I seen any source express any concern about the behavior police who gathered the evidence which was clearly in Morton’s favor. Usually, there is no mention of police.
Instead of looking at this matter as multiple people acting together to commit a vile crime against an innocent man and cover it up, why not look at it as the conspirators enabling and encouraging a murderer to murder again?
I wonder how Debra Masters Baker’s family feels about Anderson and the others. Perhaps my proposal could give them some justice.