Here’s an exceedingly rare event, a corrupt prosecutor (now a judge) is actually being prosecuted for concealing evidence of a defendant’s innocence. And it’s happening in Texas, of all places, where a fellow judge blasted the former prosecutor while ordering his arrest:
Former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson was arrested and booked into jail and then released on bail Friday after a specially convened court found that he intentionally hid evidence to secure Michael Morton’s 1987 conviction for murder.
In a blunt and scathing ruling, District Judge Louis Sturns said Anderson acted to defraud the trial court and Morton’s defense lawyers, resulting in an innocent man serving almost 25 years in prison.
“This court cannot think of a more intentionally harmful act than a prosecutor’s conscious choice to hide mitigating evidence so as to create an uneven playing field for a defendant facing a murder charge and a life sentence,” Sturns said.
Sturns, presiding over a court of inquiry that examined the Morton prosecution, found probable cause to believe that Anderson broke two state laws and committed criminal contempt of court for lying to Morton’s trial judge. He then signed a warrant for Anderson’s arrest as required under state law governing courts of inquiry.
Morton was freed in 2011 when DNA evidence showed that he didn’t kill his wife, after nearly 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Unfortunately, Anderson cannot be sued for framing him because the Supreme Court gives prosecutors absolute immunity from civil suit. The only other option is what is happening here, which is incredibly rare.