Prosecutorial Failure?

Prosecutorial Failure?

Ken Anderson’s Testimony Caps Dramatic Inquiry | The Texas Tribune

Defiant, angry and frustrated, former prosecutor Ken Anderson took the stand on Friday to defend himself, ending a week of dramatic testimony in an unusual court of inquiry that is examining whether the former district attorney committed criminal misconduct during the trial that led to the wrongful murder conviction of Michael Morton.

Morton was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for his wife’s murder, and he spent nearly 25 years behind bars before DNA evidence led to his exoneration in 2011. Lawyers for the exoneree contend that Anderson deliberately withheld critical evidence that could have prevented Morton’s wrongful conviction. Anderson adamantly denied any wrongdoing, and in his often impassioned testimony criticized the court of inquiry.

Ken Anderson’s Testimony Caps Dramatic Inquiry | The Texas Tribune

Ken Anderson is answering some tough questions in a Texas court. He needs tough questioning. He prosecuted an innocent man while allowing the guilty party to continue his crimes.

Overzealous prosecution is not justice. It’s collecting prosecutorial kills for career purposes and is particularly villanous because many defendants have only limited resources to defend themselves from charges. A prosecutor’s discretion is one of the defenses the innocent have.

James Pilant

Over Zealous Prosecution?
Over Zealous Prosecution?

From around the web –

From the web site, Ethics Alarms:

I don’t know whether Anderson intentionally withheld evidence in the process of prosecuting Michael Morton, because he thought Morton was guilty, whether he just made a series of mistakes, or whether, as he says, the system failed. I do know that he is ethically obligated to step down as a judge. His credibility, fairness, competence, commitment to justice, integrity and trustworthiness have all been called into question by the inquiry, as well as the unavoidable fact that he prosecuted an innocent man who went to prison for a quarter of a century, and while he was there, the real murderer may have killed again. The justice system cannot have a judge ruling on people’s lives who has something like that on his record and conscience. I wouldn’t want my fate to rest with such a judge, and as a lawyer, I wouldn’t want my client’s fate to be determined by such a judge either.

From the web site, The Irreverent Lawyer:

As though more corroboration was necessary, there’s the case of Michael Morton, the former grocery store clerk who served almost a quarter century’s worth of a life sentence. The truth will yet out but as of now, it appears Morton should have never been convicted had a prominent prosecutor and now county judge, Ken Anderson, and then prosecutor Mike Davis, now a private practice lawyer, and current District Attorney John Bradley shared potentially exculpatory evidence with the defense – – – as required under Brady v. Maryland 373 U. S. 83.

And finally, from the web site, Lawdiva’s Blog:

We know that in the last ten years, 45 Texas inmates have been exonerated on the basis of DNA evidence and that is something to be grateful for. The notion of innocent men and women being held in confinement for crimes they did not commit is excruciating.

Another inmate joined the ranks of those freed from a Texas jail last week. Michael Morton was convicted of murdering his wife Christine in 1986. He was a grocery store manager who had no criminal record, nonetheless, he was found guilty of beating his wife to death and sentenced to life in prison.

In 2005 Mr. Morton attempted to have evidence tested to determine if DNA was present, namely a blue bandanna found near his home after the murder. For six years the district attorney fought Morton’s attempts based on the advice of the original prosecutor, Ken Anderson, who was now Judge Anderson.

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