Texas House Approves Morton Criminal Justice Bill

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AUSTIN, Texas - The House has approved the Michael Morton Act, mandating that prosecutors share more case files with defense attorneys in an effort to prevent wrongful convictions.

The measure is named in honor of Morton, an Austin resident who spent nearly 25 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit.

It creates a uniform "open file" policy statewide that compels prosecutors to share case files with defense attorneys that can help defendants' cases.

The House passed the measure with a voice vote Monday, as Morton watched from the gallery. The Senate approved the same bill unanimously last month.

It must clear a final, procedural House vote before Gov. Rick Perry can sign it into law. Perry spokesman Josh Havens said the governor "supports efforts to open up discovery during criminal cases."