By William Fisher
Prosecutorial Misconduct. We hear about it so rarely that it often becomes a big media deal, good for a day or more in the 24-hour news cycle.
Well, in three weeks, a Texas Court of Inquiry will be the scene of that kind of big media deal.
The Court will be reviewing allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against former District Attorney Kenneth Anderson. The former prosecutor -- since appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to be a County Judge -- will be defending himself against charges that he withheld critical information in a first-degree murder case in Williamson County, near Austin.
The absence of that information caused Michael Morton to serve 25 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.
Ken Anderson was the prosecutor in 1987 when Michael Morton was sentenced to life in prison for the slaying of his wife at their home in Williamson County. A year ago, DNA evidence cleared Morton and he was freed. Another man now faces a murder trial in his wife's death.
Back in February, a Texas Judge ruled that there was probable cause to believe that Anderson violated state criminal law by refusing to turn over evidence that contributed to Morton's wrongful murder conviction.
"As Mr. Morton's case so painfully illustrates, tragic consequences can result when prosecutors put aside their ethical obligations in their zeal to win convictions, yet far too often their misdeeds go unpunished," said Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law.