Friday, October 19, 2012

State bar accuses Ken Anderson of misconduct in Michael Morton case

The folks at the State Bar must be feeling the heat because they've taken the rare step of recommending discipline against former Williamson County DA, now District Judge Ken Anderson, more than 20 years after the alleged Brady violations in the Michael Morton case. Reported the Texas Tribune's Brandi Grissom:
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.

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.
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.

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.


Anonymous said...

Hey this is REALLY GOOD NEWS. Cause for celebration, a victory for Justice and Michael Morton.

Bob said...

However, according to the Texas Tribune, "Outgoing Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley is being considered to lead the state's Special Prosecution Unit, which prosecutes crimes committed in state prisons and juvenile detention facilities and is in charge of civil commitments of sexual predators."


rodsmith said...

Would have been even better had it been followed with the following headline

"Former Prosecuter Arrested for perjury and fraud"

You know the REAL crimes he's comitted.

That is what the headline would have read for anyone else not part of the system.

Anonymous said...

Too bad public caning by martial artists as is done is Singapore is not allowed here. Caning in public followed by disbarment and a prison sentence day for day that which Morton served would be appropriate if not Constitutional. How about no bail while criminal charges are pending (for public safety reasons). That these guys are not facing felony charges is a travesty. Sad thing is that this behavior is commonplace in every law enforcement agency and every prosecutor's office in every county. Promotions based on arrests and convictions makes it too tempting to withhold evidence and only present that which supports a conviction. They will often say that they did not believe it was material, but they don't have the information from the defendant that would allow them to know if information is material. And of course there is that whole confirmation bias problem. Defense should know everything the state knows before plea or trial if we really want to prevent innocent people from being convicted or even taking deferred and risking conviction later on some technical violation. I would love to know the number of innocent people on deferred adjudication that are later convicted because they failed a lie detector about drinking while on probation or some other harmless violation.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that after Morton's wife was murdered, Morton was on trial within six months and wrongly convicted. Why is it taking so long to get Anderson in a civil matter and why are he and Bradley walking among us rather than having been through their own criminal trials? They are certainly bigger threats to the public than Morton ever was. I hope that the bar action is not to prevent legislative remedies from being put into place. These guys need to get the Mike Nifong treatment.

Lee said...


Anonymous said...

I wonder if this means they are revising their previous policy of not investigating things that occurred more than (I quite remember now, was it 4 or 5 years ago?). This means that A.D. Clark, Jack Skeen, and David Dobbs could face disciplinary action in the Kerry Max Cook case. I bet when they read about this they got worried. It has been shown beyond any shadow of a doubt that they knew about and withheld exculpatory evidence and lied to the court.

Anonymous said...

It is not enough. Morton's life and reputation was wasted by Anderson who went on with his career as a "respectable jurist" while Morton sat in prison for no reason other than a small minded prosecutor who rejected his first duty to seek justice rather than convictions. Too many like this remain in the system. When it is this hard to make a truly corrupt official face justice it provides license to arrogant hot shots seeking self promotion through a strong conviction tally at the expense of justice. This situation is untenable for the victims of such corruption. No absolute immunity for prosecutors is a starting place.

rodsmith said...

Well there is a simple solution to the problem of

We didnt' know it was bradey
We didnt'know we needed to release it.

New federal law.

Any and all material in the posession of any Federal and State Prosecutor is to be released IMMEIDATELY upon the filing of charges of any individual. The ONLY exception to this would be the addresses and information that can be shown in front of a judge that relase will result in a danger to the individual.

Failure to follow this will be a federal felony with a minimum 2 years in prison.

Problem is solved.

They no longer have to think. Which should be right up their alley. If it's in their file they release it.

Of course you would also need a companion law

New Federal law

Failure for any govt agent to include all information in any file for any reason will be considered a federal felony with a minimum 2 years inprisonment.

That will handle the cops

Anonymous said...

Never ever trust a Texan
I I Me Me people.
It is all about what one can get away with.
Texans are fake people.
The only people/friend a Texan has. Is one that serves its purpose....

ckikerintulia said...

Anonymous 10/21 12:38 AM -- You tar with a broad brush!

Anonymous said...

In Brady vs. Maryland, (1963) the Court held "that the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution."

Evidence the State knew or should have known...

The law is clear, intent is irrelevant, Brady is Brady.

I too am happy they are going back 20 years.

Anonymous said...

Anderson got caught, PLEAD GUILTY, just like everybody else is expected to. The ongoing cover up stinks!