The prosecutor in question cut a deal for the testimony of Gerald Pabst back in 1986 to gain his assistance prosecuting rape-murder charges against his brother-in law, Clay Chabot. This fact was never disclosed to the defense, but last year DNA evidence proved Pabst himself was the rapist, and last week Pabst was convicted of the murder, though Chabot may still be recharged.
However Chabot's case turns out, it's fascinating the way DNA evidence sheds light on the the specific causes of wrongful convictions. In this instance, the prosecuting attorney failed to disclose information about a snitch-and-you-walk deal with Pabst in which she agreed to drop all charges against him in exchange for his testimony.
Given that Pabst actually committed the crime, that would have been a hard deal to pass up! That observation, of course, points directly to the problems with allowing such compensated testimony in court without corroboration or vetting the informant's reliability.
To bring the story full circle, the prosecutor whose misconduct was identified in the Pabst case went on to become a Dallas County judge and is about to win an unopposed election to become an elected DA. The Dallas News Crime Blog picked up this tidbit from the Pabst murder trial coverage:
The prosecutor who withheld the evidence is Janice Warder, also a former Dallas County judge. She is running unopposed next month to become Cooke County's District Attorney.
A murder charge was dropped against Mr. Pabst after he testified in 1986, but last year prosecutors filed a capital murder charge after DNA tests showed Mr. Pabst was the rapist.
Judge Mike Snipes recommended in March a new trial for Mr. Pabst's brother-in-law, Clay Chabot. He said that Ms. Warder withheld information that would have helped Mr. Chabot at trial.