Have you seen awareness of prosecutorial misconduct change over the years?She added that "the State Bar is really not set up to oversee prosecutors because we have to receive complaints in a timely manner. Well, the Bar Association can suspend these lawyers if they violate Brady -- well, not if they're not told about it, and not if they're not told about it within the statute of limitations. So they [yesterday's speakers] brought those [issues] to the public, to say the Supreme Court relied on some safeguards that are just not working."
\I will tell you DNA and the fabulous work done by the Dallas D.A.'s office has really brought this to the forefront because Dallas was so conscientious about saving all of its biological material that its office has had the most exonerations. It has really come very much to the forefront that there are innocent people in prison.
Why is it that almost no prosecutors are disciplined for procedural errors or withholding evidence?
It's because the State Bar system is set up on a complaint-driven system. And one of the things we talked about at that symposium yesterday was getting judges to file complaints when they see this, getting prosecutors in their own office to file complaints against people in their own office that they've seen do this, would help the State Bar discipline these people.
And then the other issue as to why people haven't been disciplined, particularly about Brady violations, is that there is a four-year statute of limitations on all grievances. Brady never gets discovered within that four year period. So if you go online and look at Anthony Graves exoneration, and Charles Sebesta has a website -- he's the D.A. that convicted Anthony and put him on death row even though he was totally innocent. Charles Sebesta holds up the letter from the State Bar saying that they exonerated him. Well, you can read the letter. It says the statute of limitations has expired. And that's the issue. Most of these complaints on Brady cannot be brought to the Bar in a timely manner.
And so, one of the suggestions is to eliminate that statute of limitations so that the Bar can investigate these cases even though it's been many many years since it happened. There should be no statute of limitations.
Of Connick v. Thompson she opined that "We all believe that's an unjust opinion."
See the full interview for more.