Two years ago, In the last legislative session, prosecution- oriented groups supported reciprocal discovery. It’s not hard to understand why they took this position.
Under reciprocal discovery, the citizen accused would have to identify ALL defense witnesses to the State prior to EVERY trial. Under reciprocal discovery, the citizen accused would have to designate his codified defenses, like self- defense, prior to EVERY trial. If the citizen accused failed to notify the prosecution of his defense prior to trial, the citizen accused would be barred from asserting that defense.
Experienced defense lawyers know the inherent dangers with reciprocal discovery. With reciprocal discovery, DA investigators would locate and bully defense witnesses into not coming to court. With reciprocal discovery, State witnesses, would change their stories to counter anticipated defenses. This is the real world impact of reciprocal discovery.
Reciprocal Discovery is the Devil’s work. It would give the State yet another advantage- in a system where the State already has EVERY CONCEIVABLE ADVANTAGE. But bullies know no limits.
In the last legislative session, many of us fought reciprocal discovery. Eventually, with enormous help from
Michael Morton, Senator Ellis, Brandon Dudley and others, we Beat reciprocal discovery and in its place the Michael Morton Act passed.
The Morton Act is the single most important discovery legislation in criminal law in at least three decades.
Under the Morton Act, in EVERY CRIMINAL CASE IN TEXAS THE STATE MUST PROVIDE OFFENSE REPORTS AND WITNESS STATEMENTS TO THE
DEFENSE. The Morton Act has already helped secure the liberty of countless Texans who might otherwise have been convicted.
State proponents of reciprocal discovery did not care about the 25 years Michael Morton spent in prison.
They defended the prosecutor who hid evidence and cheated to secure Michael Morton’s wrongful conviction. The executive director of the Texas County and District Attorney’s Association (TCDAA), Rob Kepple, outrageously publicly referred to the Anderson Court of Inquiry as a “Court of Injury” for poor Ken Anderson.
The State proponents of reciprocal discovery were not happy with the Morton Act. They want this Legislature to undo the Morton Act. They want the reciprocal discovery act that they did not get last time.
In the coming legislative session, we must oppose any attempt to tamper with or neuter the Michael Morton Act.
Michael Morton and others paid too high a price for the legislature to undo, neuter or destroy the Morton Act.
All signs indicate there will be attempts in this legislative session to gut the Morton Act. With FIRM RESOLVE those who care about liberty in Texas, must oppose any attempts to undo the Morton Act.
Across this State, the Defense Bar,
And those who care about liberty and fair play must speak out. We must make our voices heard.
If you know your State Rep or State Senator, Please talk to them about Michael Morton and the importance and fairness of the Act.
The saying is, “If the fence ain’t broke don’t fix it”. The Morton Act ain’t broke and it don’t need fixin.
Let our battle cry be heard,
” Don’t Mess with the Morton Act!!”