District attorneys are responsible for seeking justice on behalf of the people, but that’s a joke when rogue prosecutors are involved. We keep track of Texas prosecutors doing bad things here in the Lone Star State (check out the “DA Watch” link there in the right sidebar and here) with a careful eye on prosecutorial misconduct.
Something that seems to run rampant in Texas.
For a few prime examples, check out our November 2011 list in “Prosecutorial Misconduct is a Big, Big Problem in Texas – Here Are Just a Few Examples” and our post from earlier this month, which shows this problem has been around for a very long time, “Former Texas Death Row Inmate Kerry Max Cook’s Case Continues to Expose Texas Prosecutors Gone Wild (In a Bad, Bad Way).”
All too often, it takes the voice of outsiders as well as the continued fight of the innocent victims of prosecutorial misconduct to expose and remedy a district attorney that has gone power-mad, forgetting his or her duties to the people and to justice as evidence is hidden or cases are twisted in charges, procedure, etc. However, sometimes the system itself does take heed of these rogue prosecutors and suddenly, investigations begin into what the state’s lawyer has done in a particular case.
Like the federal investigation into the prosecution of the Ted Stevens case and the state investigation into the prosecution of the Michael Morton matter.
Federal Inquiry Into Rogue Prosecutor In Ted Stevens Case
Back in 2008, there was a federal jury trial where Ted Stevens was convicted of lying on financial disclosure statements. Now, all these years later, a 525 page report has been released this month by those investigating the bad actions of the prosecutors in that case. (The Stevens conviction got overturned in 2009.)
It’s too late for Ted Stevens to know that the Inquiry into the prosecutors bad acts has vindicated him: Stevens died in 2010. However, it’s not too late for the rest of us to read and learn how these prosecutors acted and what they did, which included:
- lying (the report calls this making “astonishing misstatements”) to the defense attorneys about evidence and
- keeping quiet and allowing perjury on the witness stand, perjured testimony that helped the state’s case.
Texas Court of Inquiry Into Prosecutorial Misconduct in Michael Morton Murder Trial
Meanwhile, here in Texas, the investigation into prosecutorial misconduct in the Morton case is still going on – no reports to read as yet. The latest?
- The Williamson County prosecutors are now proceeding to go after another man for the murder of Michael Morton’s late wife, Christine Morton. Mark Norwood was indicted last month for homicide, and a pre-trial hearing scheduled for this week has been reset to May.
- Michael Morton is becoming a public advocate for addressing prosecutorial misconduct, doing things like appearing on 60 Minutes and taking part in panel discussions on how to stop rogue prosecutors.
- Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson has appointed Rusty Hardin to act as Special Prosecutor in the Court of Inquiry.
- Tarrant County District Judge Louis Sturns was appointed by the Chief Justice in February 2012 to preside over the Court of Inquiry after Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield recused himself.
- Yesterday, Judge Sturns set the date that the Court of Inquiry will begin its proceedings as September 11, 2012.