Journal of the Senate of Texas: 83rd Legislature, Regular Session, Wednesday, March 13, 2013 Page: 450
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Senator Ellis was recognized and introduced to the Senate Michael Morton;
Cynthia, his wife; Rodger Jones; and Tod Robberson.
The Senate welcomed its guests.
REMARKS ORDERED PRINTED
On motion of Senator Uresti and by unanimous consent, the remarks by Senators
Ellis and Whitmire regarding SR 447 were ordered reduced to writing and printed in
the Senate Journal as follows:
Senator Ellis: Thank you, Mr. President and Members. I have the honor of
introducing an incredible human being, a man of courage, perseverance, and most of
all, someone whose story none of us can fully comprehend. We have with us today
one of the Dallas Morning News'2012 Texans of the Year. Two exonerees were going
to be here today, one didn't make it, but this one is here, and I'm so glad that he did
come. I want to just quote the words from you that they used in the Dallas Morning
News to describe this incredible human being. Any man would need an ocean of inner
strength to survive arrest, conviction, and hard prison time for a crime he did not
commit. It takes even more strength to cling to the hope that someday the system will
make things right so he can clear his name and walk free. Rare is the man who
emerges from the ordeal without bitterness and a hunger for revenge against those
who wronged him. Michael Morton is such a man. Twenty-five years in prison for a
crime he did not commit, he was accused and convicted of murdering the woman that
he loved, incarcerated by the State of Texas, shunned by his family and friends,
sustained for years by only hope. Members, Mr. Morton would have harbored
incredible bitterness and simply tried to rebuild his own life outside the spotlight. He
could've done that, but instead he concentrates on trying to make life better for other
people who are wrongfully convicted in Texas. I want you to just think about what he
went through. When he went to prison, he did not have a college degree. He got a
college degree while he was in prison and then got a master's degree. Going against
incredible odds, with all the full force of the State of Texas against him, he was
fortunate enough that some folks decided to take on his case because there was DNA.
He was testifying in a Senate committee on yesterday about an important piece of
legislation. He's decided to devote a good bit of his time and energy to helping us
understand and comprehend a number of criminal justice reforms. And I, I just, I'm
amazed at how articulate, how kind, and how gentle he is. With him on the floor he
happens to have his bride, because he was married. Most of us would be on a
honeymoon, but he is here with his wife. Some of you know, I chair the board of the
Innocence Project. Mr. Morton was married recently, and he was trying to decide
where to register because so many people were calling saying, we want to give you
gifts. He and his wife decided, instead of registering, they would ask that in lieu of
gifts that donations be made to the Innocence Project of New York. There was a great
film about his life which premiered on Monday night. I think they're going to have
another showing tonight at the Drafthouse and again on Saturday. Members, he is a
remarkable human being. And before I close on the resolution, I'd like to yield to my
friend and mentor on criminal justice issues, the Dean of the Texas Senate.
83rd Legislature - Regular Session
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Texas. Legislature. Senate. Journal of the Senate of Texas: 83rd Legislature, Regular Session, Wednesday, March 13, 2013, legislative document, March 13, 2013; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth640332/m1/4/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.