The State Bar conducted a 10-month investigation after a grievance was filed against Anderson in the case. The State Bar’s Commission for Lawyer Discipline wrote in its court filing that Anderson knew of the evidence and withheld it. The filing also alleges that Anderson made a false statement to the court when he told the judge he had no evidence that could be favorable to Morton’s claims of innocence.What an unexpected development. Here's a link to the state bar's disciplinary case (pdf) against Anderson. Perhaps the discussion of legislative remedies spurred the state bar into action, or maybe it was the national media. Terry McEachern of the Tulia case is the only other prosecutor sanctioned in recent memory, and he, like Anderson, prosecuted a botched case that ended up on 60 Minutes.
His conduct, the State Bar commission wrote, violated five of the state’s Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.
Anderson is expected to file a response to the lawsuit by Nov. 5. He can choose between a civil jury trial or a bench trial in which a judge will hear the case. If Anderson’s conduct is found to constitute professional misconduct, the judge will impose sanctions, which could include a public reprimand, probated suspension of his law license, active suspension of his law license, or disbarment. The judge could also force Anderson to pay the attorneys' fees of the State Bar commission.
The Texas Supreme Court has appointed state District Judge Kelly G. Moore of Terry and Yoakum counties to preside over the case in Williamson County.
In any event, the court of inquiry regarding Anderson's alleged prosecutorial misconduct has been pushed back until December, and this state bar lawsuit against Judge Anderson only heightens the tension surrounding those unhappy proceedings.
RELATED: See Part One of Texas Monthly Pam Colloff's massive article on the Michael Morton case titled "The Innocent Man." The second half will be published in the December issue.