John Bradley: Getting a second chance


Koror (Pacific Note) — “Palau has been a humbling experience for me,” John Bradley says, sitting at the Rose Garden Restaurant in Malakal, with his wife Leslie. Looking out from the restaurant’s open area overlooking Rock Islands, Bradley was savoring every minute of his remaining stay in this paradise island nation before heading to Hawaii. Amid his great moments in Palau, there have been bad times that he says he would rather forget.

Bradley stepped down from his post as Palau’s attorney general in September. His resignation is effective Nov. 30, two months ahead of his contract’s expiration.

Described as one of the most high-profile district attorneys in the United States, Bradley is a magnet for controversy. He moved to Palau in 2014 to serve as this island nation’s attorney general. His stint here is not short of disagreements.

Bradley’s career as Williamson County district attorney was marred by his role in the case of Michael Morton, a former Texas inmate who served 25 years after being wrongfully convicted for the 1986 murder of his wife, Christine, in Williamson County. Although Bradley was not involved in convicting Morton, he argued against the reopening of the case when he became a district attorney in Texas. In 2011, Bradley — then chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission — “tenaciously fought” the Innocence Project’s campaign to get Morton’s conviction reversed. For six years, Bradley opposed DNA testing until the appellate court ruled in favor of Morton. A judge ordered the DNA testing, which eventually proved Morton’s innocence. He was released from prison in October 2011. DNA tests linked Mark Alan Norwood, a dish washer who lived in Austin, to Christine Morton's murder. Norwood was convicted and sentenced to life.