In February, Michael Morton submitted a court of inquiry to the State of Texas regarding the conduct of the leading prosecutor in his case. On Friday, April 19, 2013, a Texas judge decided that Ken Anderson, former district attorney and now judge, would face criminal charges for his improper behavior in 1987.
“We believe this is a landmark case. I know that good prosecutors, and that’s most of them, agree that it’s important Judge Anderson be held accountable for the willful misconduct that caused Michael Morton to lose 25 years of his life.”
“It’s extremely rare for prosecutors to be punished for deliberately hiding exculpatory evidence, much less face criminal charges. But this outcome will hopefully usher in a new era of oversight to ensure that prosecutors live up to their ethical obligations.”
The court as well as District Judge Louis Sterns, who was presiding over the case, decided Anderson should face charges for withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense resulting in Morton’s wrongful conviction after determining the Anderson was aware of the Judge’s trial orders.
It is reassuring to know that prosecutors who engage in ethical and legal misconduct are being held accountable for their actions. The reformation of the criminal justice system is going to take time but steps in the right direction such as The Prosecutorial Oversight Campaign are crucial in the change towards a better system. It is important every individual of the law continually upholds the law and those who do not are rightfully held accountable.
In the press release, Nina Morrison, a Senior Staff Attorney with the Innocence Project, stated,
“Hopefully this case will serve as a wake-up call to prosecutors across the nation that there are real consequences for ignoring the ethical rules that have been established to ensure that everyone gets a fair trial.”
Although criminal charges against prosecutors are rare, the success of Morton’s court of inquiry demonstrates the justice the system owes him for the miscarriage of justice that he received for 25 years.