The state's new Michael Morton Act is designed to raise awareness of the importance of sharing evidence, but recently it has also implemented new costs.
Fort Worth, TX -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/09/2014 -- The Michael Morton Act, created to prevent wrongful convictions by district attorney, was named after an Austin man who was imprisoned for nearly 25 years after wrongful conviction of his wife's murder.This new implementation is also driving up evidence costs as prosecutors will have to hire more people and invest in better ways to go through evidence.
The Michael Morton Act requires all Texas prosecutors to release "exculpatory" evidence- information that could prove the defendant's innocence- to defense attorneys. This results in an increase in copying costs and document storage and delivery, a concern for Texas prosecutors and law enforcement agencies as these burgeoning costs could result in a financial burden for smaller agencies.
This recent Act went into effect this year, three years after Morton was released from prison. After his release, a court found the prosecutor in his case intentionally withheld information that could have prevented his wrongful conviction. This new law was created to prevent similar situations.
Many people make mistakes under the stress of arrest, regardless of being wrongfully charged. Brandon Fulgham, a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney notes that, "Most people give permission to searches or else cooperate because they think they will get credit for being cooperative." In the past, law enforcement might choose not to jail a person because they are cooperating so that the officer can obtain harmful facts regardless if the person invoked their right to a legal representative. Before the Michael Morton Act was created, anything a person said to an officer of the law that proved their innocence might have been kept by the prosecution and not shared with the defense attorney. Due to the Act, all police records, interrogations, and interviews must be turned over, creating a costly but fair legal process.
About Brandon Fulgham
Brandon Fulgham is a former Tarrant and Collin County prosecutor turned criminal defense attorney. Mr. Fulgham knows how to fight government prosecutors and win. If you have been charged with a felony, misdemeanor, DWI or federal criminal charge in the Fort Worth, TX area, call today for a free consultation at (817) 877-3030.