Sunday, February 12, 2012

Former TX prosecutor investigated for concealing exculpatory evidence

Former prosecutor is now a district judge

Former Williamson County (TX) District Attorney and current District Judge Ken Anderson is under investigation for the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton who spent 25 years in prison, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Morton was released last summer after DNA evidence cleared him of the murder of his wife. Recently, another suspect was arrested.

District Judge Sid Harle found probable cause to believe that Anderson violated state law in his prosecution of Morton. Morton's lawyers accused Anderson of violating two state laws: tampering with physical evidence, a felony that includes concealing "any record or document," and intentionally concealing a government record, a misdemeanor.

Harle emphasized his decision to convene a special review court as the best way to balance competing needs, giving Anderson a chance to clear his name and Morton the opportunity to seek a greater measure of justice.

According to the American-Statesman, if the Texas Supreme Court agrees with Harle the high court will name a state district judge to oversee the special court, which would have the power to issue subpoenas, take testimony and make a finding about whether Anderson violated state law. Designed as a fact-finding body, the court would not issue a punishment or criminal conviction.

"I personally cannot imagine, having been a former prosecutor, a worse stain or tarnish on a prosecutor's reputation, integrity or legacy," Harle told the American-Statesman.

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