Call for New Innocence Protections
Exonerees and advocates introduce wrongful conviction reforms for new Texas legislature to enact in 2021
WHAT: Michael Morton, Dennis Allen and John Nolley, Texans who spent a combined 59 years in prison for crimes they did not commit, will discuss innocence protections the new legislature should enact during the 2021 session. These reforms include:
1) requiring pre-trial admissibility hearings for jailhouse informant testimony;
2) creating a new writ for non-scientific evidence of innocence HB 225;
3) fixing loopholes in the Michael Morton Act.
● Dennis Allen, fully exonerated and formally declared “actually innocent” in May 2019 after being wrongfully convicted of murder in 2000 based on unreliable jailhouse informant testimony and substantial prosecutorial misconduct. The decision was based on new DNA testing that excluded Allen from key evidence at the crime scene.
● Michael Morton, who spent nearly 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife before being officially exonerated in December 2011 after DNA evidence implicated another man.
● John Nolley, who was convicted to a life sentence based largely on the uncorroborated testimony of a jailhouse informant. He served 19 years before being released on bond in 2016 based on new evidence of his innocence. In 2018, he was exonerated based on “actual innocence,” which makes him eligible for financial compensation from the State of Texas.
● Representative Senfronia Thompson (D, Houston), sponsor of innocence reform legislation.
● Mike Ware, Executive Director, Innocence Project of Texas
● Michelle Feldman, State Campaigns Director, Innocence Project
WHEN: Wednesday, December 2, 2020
3:00pm CST / 4:00pm EST
WHERE: Register for the Virtual Town Hall on Facebook here.
Members of the media can submit questions in advance via email at email@example.com.