WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) - In court filings released Thursday, state District Judge Ken Anderson said he cannot be held responsible for any evidence that might have been withheld when he prosecuted Michael Morton in the 1986 death of wife because the statute of limitations has run out.
The filings by the former Williamson County district attorney came in response to allegations from the State Bar that he had violated rules that required him to notify Morton's lawyers of any evidence that might be favorable to the defense.
The State Bar's investigation found that during a pre-trial hearing in the case against Morton, Anderson said his office had turned up no evidence favorable to Morton.
"That statement was false," the State bar said in its disciplinary petition against Anderson. The state oversight agency also said Anderson had violated five of the Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.
"We respectfully disagree with the positions taken and the allegations made by the State Bar Disciplinary Council," said Anderson attorney Eric Nichols. "We will defend against these allegations in the public forum of a Court of Law."
In the answer to the petition, Anderson's lawyers issued a blanket denial of "each and every, all and singular" allegations brought by the State Bar Disciplinary Council on Oct. 4. But the only defense mentioned in the filing was that it is now too late to bring action against Anderson.
The document does say that Anderson "reserves the right to supplement" the court filing with addition information.
The filing comes nearly one year after Anderson offered Morton an apology for the wrongful conviction, which was thrown out after DNA evidence pointed to another suspect in the beating death of Christine Morton in the couple's Williamson County home. That suspect, Mark Alan Norwood, is charged with capital murder in the death.
On Nov. 16, Anderson acknowledged that Morton had been innocent all alng. And the former prosecutor apologized to the man who spent 25 years behind bars on a false conviction.
"We got it wrong," Anderson told reporters on the courthouse steps at the time.
Anderson, now a state district judge, made the comments after undergoing some 12 hours of deposition the week before whe was questioned by Morton's lawyers. Morton was set free last month after DNA proved that he did not kill his Christine. Anderson at the time said he welcomed the State Bar's inquiry.
"DNA testing was not available," Anderson said referring to the time period when Morton was on trial. But he rejected any suggestion that he acted with malice in not pursuing that testing once it did become available.
"In my heart, I know there was no misconduct whatsoever," Anderson said. "I really want to apologize to Mr. Morton. The system failed."
An armed robbery in South Austin set off a search for two men with guns early Friday morning.
A local road project more than two decades in the making won't save drivers as much time as many had hoped.
The University of Texas Board of Regents adjourned Thursday without taking action on the job status of embattled UT President Bill Powers.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
Two men were arrested and a third was being sought by police for the shooting death of 47-year-old Russell Martens.
Parking arrangements are a bit different this year at Austin's Trail of Lights, but there are options to suit just about anybody.