Saturday, February 11, 2012

Judge: Court of inquiry to proceed investigating prosecutor misconduct in Williamson County

Remarkable! Judge Sid Harle has recommended a Court of Inquiry (see more background on this unique, Texas proceeding) regarding whether then-Williamson County DA Ken Anderson (today a District Judge) broke any laws by concealing evidence in the Michael Morton murder case 26 years ago. See:
For much more detailed background on the allegations which led to the decision, see the report (144-page pdf) from Morton's defense team alleging prosecutorial misconduct based on their unusual, court-approved post-exoneration investigation.


Anonymous said...

Grits, what do you think the outcome of this will be? Is this just a sham or do you think someone will at least be admonished for their crimes?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

The court of inquiry is a seldom used legal maneuver so there's not a large track record and it's hard to predict. Judge Harle's decision yesterday was pretty darn huge - I'd have put the odds against him recommending one. Now that he has, who knows? We're in more or less uncharted waters.

Anonymous said...

Could this set some type of precedent for cases like this?

What's the worst possible outcome for Anderson? I'm trying to not get too excited because we all know the history of prosecutor misconduct in Texas, but even if this turns out to be a sham and nothing changes at least it may draw attention to this mostly overlooked and rampant epidemic that plagues our courts.

In the end I believe we all know not much will happen, and unfortunately nothing will change...

Anonymous said...

Innocent until proven guilty, wow, it's true (for prosecutors). You and me, well, we get thrown in jail, released if we have enough money, tried by CROOKED prosecutors and sent to the big house... But if you are a prosecutor, it takes a congressional investigation to get a hand slap.

At least the Bar is moving forward and has not dismissed this!

Daniel Simon said...

Wilco is so over the top corrupt from top to can bet it ends up in a hand slap!

Judge Harle declined to refer Anderson to the Judicial Conduct not much chance of him being removed, and Harle also declined to refer Bradley or Davis to the State Bar.

I guess it is better than nothing...but I don't expect to see much concrete punishment.

These two are just two maggots on a dead lady justice in Wilco.

See my website if you want to learn more about this cesspool.

Daniel Simon

Daniel Simon said...

sorry, here is website:

Daniel Simon

Phillip Baker said...

Daniel, I believe you left out an "s" in "shyster".

Phillip Baker said...

(Apologies, Daniel. That correction would have been better put at the top of this post, rather than as a separate one, drawing more attention. An unintentional oversight, I assure you.)

Daniel, there were good reasons for Judge Harle not referring this to the Judicial Qualifications Commission. Anderson was not a judge at the time, so it would not fall within their purview. And all the discovery material from Mike Morton's team's work was submitted to the court for sending to the State Bar in an earlier hearing.

As to what happens now, who knows? Its an election year. Is Chief Justice Jefferson up for reelection? That will certainly play into it, sadly. All these court officials are, after all, politicians by virtue of our ludicrous system of electing DA's and judges.

Since I have some stake in all this, I plan to do anything I can to keep this in the public eye. Not to be rude, but it is pretty much a fact that Americans these days have the memory span of a gnat. All it takes to let this corruption be forgotten is for another story to catch the public's attention. I can only pray some baby does not fall down a well somewhere in the world.And if a blonde white girl goes missing on spring break the entire media will turn its collective eye to that for weeks and weeks.

What I do pray is that the people who follow such things, like the good followers of this blog, keep their attention focused and not let this fade away. I need to find me a rooftop to shout from. Oh wait, after that opening story maybe I need to reconsider that. Can you imagine how many squad cars would convene if such a thing happened??

Daniel Simon said...

Yes Philip, and thanks for the correction. It is indeed shyster not shyter.

I am curious you are the husband of another murder victim are you not?

I am curious if you think Bradley deliberately covered up for Anderson and knew Mr. Morton was innocent?

I don't put it past him because I think he is a truly evil little self serving animal!

He cold bloodily destroys families by suppressing a felony hundreds of times a month in Wilco.

Daniel Simon

John Cowan said...

In my view, your troubles started because you did something much more suspicious than being with a small black child: you were a pedestrian. Walking around is automatically suspicious in most of the U.S.: if people aren't driving, they are up to no good. There are a few cities (notably NYC) where this isn't true, but the fact is that if you already have two strikes against you, you should have driven home with your wife. Not saying that's right, just the way it is.

Anonymous said...

Do any Texas constitutional experts see a potential mess coming out of this? And, specifically, why is the Supreme Court and not the TCCA handling this? -----

The Supreme Court shall exercise the judicial power of the state except as otherwise provided in this Constitution. Its jurisdiction shall be co-extensive with the limits of the State and its determinations shall be final except in criminal law matters.
Texas Constitution, Article 5, sec. 3

The media report says the Supreme Court is getting the judge's recommendation, but the "court of inquiry" arises out of the criminal code and its purpose is to decide if there is probable cause that there has been a crime. Therefore, shouldn't the TCCA be handling this?

In State ex rel. Holmes v. Honorable Court of Appeals for Third Dist., 885 S.W.2d 389, 393 (Tex.Crim.App.1994)(quoting Curry v. Wilson, 853 S.W.2d 40, 43 (Tex.Crim.App.1993)), the Court of Criminal Appeals, in discussing this issue stated:

While no rule precisely defines the limits of a criminal law matter, we enunciated a general rule in Curry v. Wilson .... We explained that criminal law matters are those: “... Disputes which arise over the enforcement of statutes governed by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, and which arise as a result of or incident to a criminal prosecution....”

I would imagine that the TCCA is probably much less sympathetic to this cause than the Supreme Court. The following, from a dissent last year, indicates the trouble that could be brewing.

In re Reece
341 S.W.3d 360

Justice WILLETT, joined by Justice JOHNSON as to Part IV, dissenting.

Intrepidity at the Alamo; entering the United States as the Republic of Texas; fifty-eight Texas-born recipients of the Medal of Honor; Bob Wills and George Strait; Nolan Ryan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias; five Super Bowl titles (sadly none this millennium); Dr Pepper and the “little creamery” in Brenham; deep-fried anything at the State Fair; a spirit of daring and rugged independence—the sources of Lone Star pride are innumerable.

Unfortunately, the juris-imprudent design of the Texas judiciary does not make the list. Today's case is a byproduct of that recondite web, sparking a game of jurisdictional hot potato between us and our constitutional twin, the Court of Criminal Appeals. Truth be told—and this particular truth has been told repeatedly—the State's entire Rube Goldberg-designed judicial “system” is beyond piecemeal repair; it should be scrapped and rebuilt top-to-bottom. That said, and however labyrinthine the jurisdictional maze often is, the answer in today's case seems straightforward: This dispute belongs with our sister court.

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