AUSTIN - Today the Texas Public Policy Foundation's Marc Levin released the following statement on the passage of the Michael Morton Act (SB 1611) through the Texas House of Representatives:
"We are pleased that the Texas House has joined the Senate in passing this landmark legislation to promote transparency and fairness in the criminal justice system. By ensuring that defense lawyers have access to the evidence that the prosecution is relying upon, this legislation will help prevent wrongful convictions.
Moreover, it will increase the efficiency of appointed counsel for indigent defendants, as they will not have to spend time chasing down physical evidence and witness statements already in prosecutors' files. Given the significant funds Texas counties spend on indigent defense, this will help ensure that precious taxpayers' funds are being wisely used, not spent on a hide and seek exercise which is more suited to a game than a process that seeks the truth.
Ultimately, we believe this legislation will bring the same benefits of greater accuracy and fewer surprises involving new unexamined evidence at trial that the discovery process has brought to the civil justice system in Texas."
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.