Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Discovery reform, innocence commission bills chugging along

The House worked late and I didn't stay for the committee festivities, but it sounds like the hearing on the discovery bill in Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence went well:
See also coverage from the SA Express News on passage by the Texas House of the Timothy Cole Exoneration Commission. At the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Bob Ray Sanders has a column titled, "Texas Senate should approve exoneration commission."


Anonymous said...

The recent indictment of former Nueces County DA Anna Jimenez by Jackson County DA Bobby Bell (http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/05/02/4820241/former-south-texas-prosecutor.html) highlights how imperative it is that legislation be passed to combat the continued abuses of win at all costs prosecutors. The actions of Ken Anderson in the prosecution of Michael Morton were not an isolated incident by any stretch of the imagination. Sadly, those practices are alive and well today.

DA Bobby Bell’s hang ‘em high philosophy is well known along the Gulf Coast. In fact, I’ll bet he’s prosecuted more capital murders per capita in little bitty Jackson County than in many metropolitan areas throughout the state. What people (defense attorneys especially!) are too scared to tell you is that this tough on crime approach comes with a hefty price tag—exculpatory evidence that never sees the light of day, witnesses that are intimidated into not speaking up (or INDICTED if they do), and frequent threats made to attorneys that their actions could result in additional charges being filed against their clients or possibly against the attorneys themselves.

Enter Anna Jimenez. I seem to recall very similar antics on her part when she was the short lived DA in Nueces County. I guess no one told Ms. Jimenez that Mr. Bell didn’t play fair either! In any event, it looks like Ms. Jimenez ran afoul of the unspoken rule in Jackson County—too zealously representing a client will get you into hot water.

This insanity has to stop! Grits, please continue to help shine light on the likes of Ken Anderson, John Bradley, and Bobby Bell. Too many lives have been irreparably harmed by prosecutors who have forgotten that their duty is to seek justice, not to secure a win.

Anonymous said...

Michael Morton Act needs teeth or the abuses will continue.