Local News

Jan 10, 2014 7:48 PM

Criminal Evidence Rules Overhauled

CORPUS CHRISTI - We talked to District Attorney Mark Skurka today about the Michael Morton law - named for a man wrongfully convicted of murder. Skurka said enforcing the new law may be a challenge.

The new law tells prosecutors to share all information with defense lawyers - not some of it - in a criminal trial.

It's meant to keep the Michael Mortons of the world out of jail but while it calls for more accountability, it lacks some oomph.

Skurka told KRIS 6 News there are no sanctions or penalties for prosecutors who don't comply with the new law.

It seems lawmakers stripped those out before passing the bill.

"It's one thing to say you will do this - as the Legislature often does - but it's really hard to say you will do it this way (or) this way (or) this way."

Skurka said his prosecutors have always shared all information with defense lawyers so there's no issue here in Nueces County.

He said a lot of evidence here gets shared electronically and that saves both time and money - but he'll have to hire at least one more employee to handle the added workload from the new law. which of course cancels out some of the savings.

Skurka said he, like anyone else, is horrified at the level of justice denied Michael Morton and that he'd fire any prosecutor who didn't share evidence. But when asked him if he considered this an unfunded mandate from the state, he said "Absolutely."

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