Charges against Williamson County District Judge Ken Anderson following the court of inquiry in the Michael Morton case aren't the only recent example of a former District Attorney coming under indictment for alleged prosecutorial misconduct. Former Nueces County DA Anna Jimenez - who was appointed to the slot in 2010 by Governor Rick Perry but failed to win re-election - faces charges for allegedly falsifying affidavits in a murder case. Jimenez went on to work at the capital defender's office on Lubbock, where here boss has suspended her while issuing a supportive press statement. Here's a copy of the indictment (pdf) and some brief news coverage. (Coverage from the Caller Times is behind their paywall.)
Between the Anderson and Jimenez indictments and Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg sitting in the county jail over a DWI, this has been a harsh few weeks for the prosecutorial profession in Texas. Republican state Rep. Jeff Leach recently authored a column titled "Prosecutor misconduct swept under rug for too long." Relatedly, a recent ProPublica story asked, "Who polices prosecutors who abuse their authority? Usually nobody." But recent criminal charges against allegedly rogue prosecutors add to the impression that, increasingly, "Texas prosecutors are no longer unassailable." Whether we're witnessing a paradigm shift that could fundamentally alter the prosecutorial culture that engenders misconduct - or just a temporary flash in the pan in response to media criticism - remains to be seen. But in my adult lifetime, Grits can't think of another period when so many current and former prosecutors found themselves in legal hot water all at once.