Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Court-of-inquiry a unique Texas proceeding for seeking justice
From Tim Cole's posthumous exoneration to a failed effort in the Todd Willingham case and now in the aftermath of Michael Morton's exoneration, defense attorneys have sought to use courts of inquiry, not always successfully, to ferret out injustice and police and prosecutor misconduct when official channels have been barred. The military has a much-different process with the same name, but according to the Texas Tribune, the type of "court of inquiry" sought in the Michael Morton case is unique to Texas, and the proceedings have been upheld as constitutional by the federal 5th Circuit. The Trib has a "Texplainer" column on these rare proceedings, which have "primarily been used in attempts to resolve issues related to wrongful convictions."