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In just about a month from now, Texas will witness a rare event: a former prosecutor is going to be held to account for alleged prosecutorial misconduct.
He is Ken Anderson, who for nearly 17 years was the district attorney in Williamson County, a fast-growing suburb of Austin. (In 2002, Gov. Rick Perry made him a district judge.) As Pamela Colloff writes, in a brilliant two-part series in Texas Monthly, Anderson was the kind of prosecutor who “routinely asked for, and won, harsh sentences and fought to keep offenders in prison long after they became eligible for parole.”
One of Anderson’s most high-profile prosecutions was of a man named Michael Morton. In 1987, Anderson prosecuted him for a heinous crime: His wife, Christine, was bludgeoned to death. Morton was then in his early 30s, with a 3-year-old son and a job at Safeway. He had never been in trouble. Yet the Williamson County sheriff, Jim Boutwell, from whom Anderson took his cues, was convinced that Morton had committed the crime.
On April 12, 1987, Michael Morton sat down to write a letter. “Your Honor,” he began, “I’m sure you remember me. I was convicted of murder, in your court, in February of this year.” He wrote each word carefully, sitting cross-legged on the top bunk in his cell at the Wynne prison unit, in Huntsville. “I have been told that you are to decide if I am ever to see my son, Eric, again. I haven’t seen him since the morning that I was convicted. I miss him terribly and I know that he has been asking about me.” Referring to the declarations of innocence he had made during his trial, he continued, “I must reiterate my innocence. I did NOT kill my wife. You cannot imagine what it is like to lose your wife the way I did, then to be falsely accused and convicted of this terrible crime. First, my wife and now possibly, my son! Sooner or later, the truth will come out. The killer will be caught and this nightmare will be over. I pray that the sheriff’s office keeps an open mind. It is no sin to admit a mistake. No one is perfect in the performance of their job. I don’t know what else to say except I swear to God that I did NOT kill my wife. Please don’t take my son from me too.”
If the court believes that Anderson’s alleged misconduct rises to the level of a crime, it could refer the matter to a grand jury.
Michael’s lawyers, however, argue that the four-year window during which a prosecutor can be charged for violations such as suppression of evidence has not yet closed because Anderson committed an ongoing act of “fraudulent concealment” that did not end until August 2011, when Judge Lott’s file was unsealed.
The best part is that it looks like the original prosecutor who is now a judge will at the very least be disciplined and could be disbarred. It is a nightmare what this man went through. My little paragraph here does not do the story justice.
I hope the man gets justice, he deserves it, but I really think the best he'll be able to do is get monetary compensation for all of those years behind bars that he could've spent making a living and raising his son. I'm sure he will because it has been proven he was wrongly convicted. The reason why is what's at question at this point.
Originally posted by AthlonSavage
reply to post by GrantedBail
The prosector should receive life in prision with Hard labour. He should also be ordered to pay financially all his earnings for last twenty years to Mr Morton.