Louis Sturns: A Judge With Courage to do the Right Thing
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read the Probable Cause Order that Judge Sturns signed last week in the Michael Morton court of inquiry. Thanks to the always cutting edge gritsforbreakfast.com for covering this story and posting the link to the judge's order.
Judge Sterns, sitting in Williamson County found that former DA Ken Anderson - now a serving district judge - intentionally hid evidence and lied to the trial judge in Michael Morton's case, causing an innocent man, Michael Morton to spend 25 years in prison for murdering his wife. I'm still studying the order, but so far I'm impressed with the reasoning and force. The State Bar should make sure that every CLE seminar covers this opinion. It is a blueprint for lawyers who face unscrupulous prosecutors and opponents in civil cases, some who will do whatever it takes to win - cheat, lie and steal, the end justifies the means, and so on.
For example, Judge Sturns found that Anderson lied to the trial judge when he claimed his office had no Brady material, i.e., evidence that could possibly help Morton defend himself. In fact, Anderson had a statement from a witness that placed an intruder in the home, beating Morton's wife to death. He also had witness statements of a green van parked behind the home. Anderson was not under oath (that would have made what he did perjury) but he was an officer of the court.
It can be dangerous to be wrong, but, to be right, when society regards the majority’s falsehood as truth, could be fatal. This principle is especially true with respect to false truths that form an important part of an entire society’s belief system. In the past, such basic false truths were religious in nature. In the modern world, they are medical and political in nature. Dr. Thomas Szasz.
I found this jewel at ALDaily.com, an article by Holly Chase.
Mad, or bad?
Even in the decade of dissent, Thomas Szasz stood alone when he attacked the idea of madness from the political right
Near Szasz’s school in Budapest there stood a statue of Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian obstetrician who found posthumous fame as a 19th-century martyr of science. To Szasz, the sickly and discontented young son of a Jewish businessman, Semmelweis became something of a hero. The late doctor’s claim to fame had been the discovery that it was possible to practically eliminate the often-fatal ‘childbed fever’ common among new mothers in hospitals if doctors simply washed their hands before assisting with childbirth — especially if they had just been performing autopsies. When his findings became more widely known in the 1840s, he expected a revolution in hospital hygiene. It didn’t come, and Semmelweis grew increasingly outspoken and hostile towards doctors who refused to acknowledge his discovery. Vitriolic academic exchanges ensued, and he was eventually lured to a mental hospital where his opponents had arranged for his incarceration. He was beaten severely and put in a straitjacket. He died within two weeks.