For a state perhaps best known as the leader in executing murderers, Texas now has another distinction: It is the most generous in compensating those who were wrongly locked up. In all, the state has paid more than $65 million to 89 wrongfully convicted people since 1992, according to updated state figures. And if legislation being discussed at the Texas Capitol becomes law, that tab could soon grow.
“The justice system in Texas had fundamental flaws, and this is the result,” said state Sen. Rodney Ellis, a longtime champion of the falsely imprisoned. “At this point, I don’t think anyone can seriously doubt that we had a problem — a big problem.”
For a hint of how off-track Texas’ justice system once was, and how expensive those mistakes have become for taxpayers, consider the case of Michael Morton, the exonerated former Austin-area resident who served 25 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. A Williamson County court convicted him in 1987 of killing his wife Christine.
Austin Local News | Live Streaming | Austin Morning Show | Jeff Ward Show | Blogs | Austin Jobs
2013 EEO | Recruitment Source