[Rusty] Hardin submitted a bill of $365,045.13, which included $39,587.63 for expenses such as Fed Ex, copying, mileage and hotels, [assistant auditor Julie] Kiley said. The remainder of the bill was for 1553.50 hours of legal service, she said. Sturns only authorized that the county pay $339,492, she said.Considering the state paid nearly two million dollars to Morton in a lump sum and that Texas taxpayers created a lifetime annuity for Morton in a like amount, quite honestly, it seems to me the county is getting off light. One of Morton's unrequited reform suggestions was for counties to bear at least part of the burden for compensating exonerees since local officials were fundamentally responsible for most false convictions. That idea didn't move forward, but it would be folly to think the county would get off scot-free while Judge Ken Anderson, who prosecuted Morton and was arrested this spring for allegedly secreting exculpatory evidence in the case, remains on the bench. For that matter, "If a trial is held, the county will face more expenses."
Kiley said the judge didn’t explain why he adjusted the bill down, but such adjustments aren’t unusual in criminal cases. ...
The county’s previous legal costs of more than $158,000 include $145,879.84 for the Norwood trial and $12,780 for judge’s fees, transcripts and court reporting for the court of inquiry, Kiley said.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Williamson County getting off light financially for Michael Morton exoneration
The aftermath of the Michael Morton exoneration has cost Williamson County more than half a million dollars, reported the Austin Statesman (July 22), mostly in legal fees surrounding the court of inquiry but also for the prosecution of the real killer, Mark Norwood, whose DNA was found at the scene on a belatedly tested bloody handkerchief. Reported the paper: