Analysis: Wrongful convictions sharpen focus on death penalty
Maggie Clark, Pews/Stateline Staff Writer 10:14 a.m. EST November 13, 2013
For people wrongly convicted and sent to prison for crimes they did not commit, the opportunities for justice are few and far between.
“There have been no consequences for the prosecutor in my case,” said Anthony Graves, a Texas man who was exonerated three years ago after serving more than a decade on death row for a murder he did not commit.
“He’s never been in front of any board and is free to do whatever he wants, even though the court cited egregious misconduct in his handling of my case,” said Graves, who now advocates for criminal justice reform. Graves spoke Tuesday on a panel of experts at an American Bar Association conference in Atlanta. Earlier in the meeting, former President Jimmy Carter called on the lawyers’ association to campaign to end the death penalty.
In another case of misconduct mentioned by the panel, the prosecutor was disciplined. Texas prosecutor Ken Anderson deliberately withheld evidence proving that a Texas man, Michael Morton, did not murder his wife. He will serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court for withholding evidence and serve 500 hours of community service. He will also give up his law license. Morton served almost 25 years for the murder he did not commit. …
A former Texas prosecutor who won a conviction that sent an innocent man to prison for nearly 25 years agreed Friday to serve 10 days in jail and complete 500 hours of community service.
Ken Anderson also agreed to be disbarred and was fined $500 as part of a sweeping deal that was expected to end all criminal and civil cases against the embattled ex-district attorney, who presided over a tough-on-crime Texas county for 30 years.
Anderson faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted of tampering with evidence in the 1987 murder trial of Michael Morton, who wrongly spent nearly 25 years in prison…..
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-partseries 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.”