FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/17/2013
WILLIAMSON COUNTY REPRESENTATIVE TONY DALE PRAISES THE SIGNING OF THE MICHAEL MORTON ACT
AUSTIN – Yesterday afternoon, Governor Perry signed Senate Bill 1611, the Michael Morton Act, which will help prevent wrongful convictions in Texas. The Governor was joined by the authors, Senator Rodney Ellis and Representative Senfronia Thompson, along with local Williamson County Representative, Tony Dale, and Michael Morton for the bill signing. Representative Tony Dale supported this important legislation.
“Texas is a law-and-order state, and with that tradition comes a responsibility to make our judicial process as transparent and open as possible,” Governor Perry said. “Senate Bill 1611 helps serve that cause, making our system fairer and helping prevent wrongful convictions and penalties harsher than what is warranted by the facts.”
The Michael Morton Act will allow Texas’ criminal justice system to be more responsive to a case, even after it has been tried, by ensuring a more open discovery process. The bill’s open file policy allows for broader discovery, and removes barriers for accessing any evidence, except for items that would affect the security of a victim or witness. Senate Bill 1611 becomes law on January 1, 2014.
Representative Dale added, “From the horrible crime that occurred in southwestern Williamson County so long ago, to his tragic imprisonment to today's bill signing, Michael Morton's journey has been difficult. With the signing of the Michael Morton Act into law, I am hopeful that we can prevent future wrongful convictions. Our system must be based upon justice, fairness and transparency to ensure the protection of our civil liberties.”
Dale was elected to the House in November 2012. He is a small business owner and veteran of the U.S. Army who previously served on the Cedar Park City Council. He represents western Williamson County, including the communities of Cedar Park, Leander and Brushy Creek, as well as parts of north Austin.
Contact: Amy Rister