Michael Morton’s lawyers are crying foul over a request by Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley to speed Morton’s appeal toward completion, saying the move is a cynical attempt to short-circuit an investigation into allegations of misconduct by former county officials."Shameless," is the word that comes to mind.
After almost 25 years in prison for killing his wife in 1987, Morton was freed Oct. 4 when Bradley and defense lawyers agreed that recent DNA tests pointed to another man as the killer.
The agreement with Bradley also gave defense lawyers limited time to pursue an investigation into their allegations that prosecutors and investigators hid evidence that could have established Morton’s innocence and ignored leads that could have caught the killer.
But the agreement also said the investigation ends if the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals establishes Morton’s innocence - which the court did Wednesday.
\Morton’s lawyers believe they have until Nov. 7, when the court issues its mandate and the ruling becomes official - to conduct their investigation, which was to be overseen by District Judge Sid Harle.
But in a motion filed late Wednesday, Bradley asked the appeals court to expedite its opinion. The motion said the request was being made for Morton’s good, freeing him from the conditions of his bond and allowing him to more quickly seek state compensation for his wrongful conviction.
Those reasons clearly irritated Morton’s lawyers, who filed a motion this morning asking the court to deny Bradley’s request.
UPDATE: Bradley withdrew the motion, reports the Texas Tribune, saying it "was a simple misunderstanding of the terms of the agreement" with Morton's lawyers. IMO the only thing Bradley misunderstood is that some people don't back down in the face of bullies, even if that's what he's used to in Williamson County.
MORE: From the Austin Chronicle.
- John Bradley facing local, national criticism now that Michael Morton formally exonerated
- State Bar should sanction prosecutor from Michael Morton case but almost certainly won't
- What can the Texas Legislature do to reduce prosecutorial misconduct?