Former Texas Prosecutor and Current Judge Faces Court of Inquiry Over Alleged Misconduct Leading To Innocent Man Spending 25 Years In Jail

The same week that the Durham District Attorney is appearing in a hearing on her possible removal, a Texas judge has found probable cause that former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson withheld exculpatory evidence and may have caused  a innocent man to be wrongfully convicted. Anderson, now a district judge himself, will face a likely special court of inquiry over his alleged misconduct.

Michael Morton was exonerated by DNA evidence after serving 25 years in prison. DNA evidence points to another suspect in the murder of Morton’s wife.

The DNA implicated Mark Alan Norwood, who was working as a dishwasher in Bastrop, Texas. Norwood is now accused of beating Christine Morton to death and suspected of killing Debra Master Baker in 1988.

For his part, Anderson is accused of an impressive array of acts of serious misconduct including tampering with evidence, concealing evidence from both the defendant and the court, and even hiding a critical transcript.

Source: Statesman

39 thoughts on “Former Texas Prosecutor and Current Judge Faces Court of Inquiry Over Alleged Misconduct Leading To Innocent Man Spending 25 Years In Jail

  1. This man is SICK and deserves to by lynched! There is no way Mr. Morton can be compensated for what has been done to him (not that they would even really try to). Can you even IMAGINE what it would be like to spend 25 years in jail at all, let alone for something you didn’t do? And the prosecutor KNEW that you didn’t do? I wonder what the Special Court of Inquiry will do! Probably whitewash the whole thing. Will it even slap him on the wrist? Ooopsie! I just reread it! For his alleged ”misconduct!” Glad it was just a little ole bit of mischief instead of something really bad. SHEEEESH!

  2. Left out of this story (may be in the Statesman story – haven’t read that yet) is that Anderson’s successor fought a years-long war attempting to block the DNA testing in an effort to protect his predecessor… and that isn’t the only blood on his hands.

    Current DA John Bradley, as the appointed (by Rick Perry) head of the Texas Forensic Science Commission was responsible for blocking forensic evidence from being used to delay the execution of Cameron Todd Wilingham. A posthumous review of DNA evidence has since exonerated Willingham.

    Anderson should go down in flames for his part in the Morton miscarriage, and Bradley will hopefully be not far behind. Now we just need to figure a way to send Rick Perry back to the farm.

  3. Off-topic, but related:
    Many’s later thoughts were over the conveniency or expeditive merits of murdering JFK in Texas.
    Just now, has awakened the thought that the choice of Texas, was an exprssion of: “FU, the President is that only in Washington! And barely that! there.” I.e., states’ rights in all its glory, or rebellion in all its.

  4. raff,

    No one has ever said the Justice system was Just….


    There is more to be revealed in this county.. that I can assure you….


    DeLay….. now what is different today… he is being held to the same standards he wants for everyone else…. damn… sometimes the shoe is a little tight.

  5. Has a prosecutor any immunity from suit for damages under the provisions of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 and/or conspiracy to deprive someone of their civil rights? Does immunity erode when the withholding of evidence results in a wrongful conviction and imprisonment? Who else was in on it? What venue choice for the civil rights damage suit does the plaintiff have? The Statesman newspaper is from Austin, TX. Seems like a jury from that federal jurisdiction would give plaintiff a good jury panel. Fairer than most of Texas. I wonder if this victim would shoot the ex prosecutor now judge in the head in open court, would a jury convict him? The prosecutor tried to kill him in open court . We need some simple justice here–its Texas.

  6. Actually, imprisoning the innocent and killing them is now completely lawful for the president and his designated group of “deciders”.

    Why is this behavior only reprehensible when done by someone at the lower level of govt.? I would say this behavior is reprehensible, period.

    51% of self-identified liberal Dems agree that the power of the president to imprison and/or kill the innocent is fine by them. That type of “ethical” judgment leaves no basis for complaint against what this judge is doing. To my mind, this is one reason why it is imperative that people make the mental connections between what is happening at the top of the food chain and the bottom.

    Other people are being harmed. The principle of harm proceeds from the same first premise-the powerful may do as they wish. As a people, we must stop believing that the harm of others is just fine, at least when our BFF does it. It is not fine, not even close.

  7. Texas no doubt is the acme of police and prosecutorial misconduct, but I suspect it is quite common in the rest of the US. DA positions are political and a springboard politically, this man became a Judge after all. Police are under pressure to clear cases and look to the most obvious suspects, usually those close to the victim. Even though we all are aware there are “random” murderers it is hard work to prove and that’s why serial killers have multiple victims. Mix that in with a strong feeling of vengeance over justice and you have a recipe for convicting the innocent.

  8. Mike S.,

    Not to defend stupidity….. But Texas does not have the record set for innocent folks going to prison….. How many do you think Florida, New York have incarcerated…..

  9. Again Jill goes off a vital topic to satisfy her hatred of Obama, even though everyone here has discussed her information on numerous threads.
    Trolling Jill does not become you and in your hatred of all who don’t accept your views fully you become a troll. Blind hatred, mixed with political perspective is as ugly and dangerous as anything done by those you oppose and were you to gain power, based on your written production equally as dangerous to us all, as those you despise.

  10. Again, Mike S.,

    Your statement to Jill is either all encompassing to everyone that take a person, party or ideal and single focused or that they are so narrow minded that they cannot see past there own nose because everything stinks if you’re not just like them….. you have to fit in the cookie cutter world they have ordained…..and not just for themselves….

  11. well Mike the answer is the same…..clicks… does not matter where you go…. either you are like us or you are against us…. cop mentality….

  12. My wife spent a couple months in Dallas one week while cleaning up a relative’s affairs. she came home looking as drained as if she’d met a vampire on the plane. It was the oppressive heat, the radio preachers and agitators, and the general level of stupidity.
    Texans get what they deserve. We just can’t figure why anybody would move there, right mind or not.

  13. mr.ed,

    That can be very true… particulary in some parts of Dallas and the vicinity… Houston ought to e part of NO.

  14. “Your statement to Jill is either all encompassing to everyone that take a person, party or ideal and single focused or that they are so narrow minded that they cannot see past there own nose because everything stinks if you’re not just like them….. you have to fit in the cookie cutter world they have ordained…..and not just for themselves….”


    One of the things I found out in the Movement in the 60’s, were that some of the people who were ostensibly on my side, talked the talk but had so much anger and hatred, they couldn’t walk the walk. This wasn’t just the party line people like CPUSA, Maoists, Trotskyites and Anarchists, who marched in lockstep to their leadership. Some of the Hippies (of which I was one) and Yippies who pretended to be about “Love”, were actually about hatred and violence. Seeing that I came to understand that the “Ism” is usually subsumed by the internal rage of the individual, which ultimately negates the pretended aim.

    In the instance of this story, I think the prosecutor is a person who committed an egregious crime and grievous harm, that must be redressed to the extent possible. How do you give someone back decades in prison? However, I don’t hate this prosecutor, I pity him his blind ignorance and feel he should be punished for what I see as his crimes.

    When we let our justifiable rage at what we see as injustice overtake our reason, we become no different than the object of our rage. I don’t write this putting myself above anyone else, because I can see myself becoming just as vengeful if I let my rage slip out of control. Humanity must learn to control its’ inner rage at what individually is seen as evil, or we perpetuate it and become it, as history has shown. End of fatuous rant.

  15. Mike S.,



    Serving Justice oneinnocent Defendant at a time…. I actually am aware of people being prosecuted whileblack….. oh yeah the Sct said they had had “there day in court”….

  16. Mike,
    I haven’t seen the word “fatuos” in a long time! :)
    Does it seem that Texas seems to have more than its fair share of “justice” issues to you?

  17. raff,

    Maybe maybe not… to answer your question… there are corrupt people in every part of the judicial process…. maybe the folks here are just a little bit not as old world schooled as the fine upstanding Chicago and New York justice goes…..

  18. I guess the problem with Jill’s posts is that she sees a bigger picture, one that sometimes escapes others here. I appreciate her posts.

  19. Off Topic:

    Texas Federal Judge Demagogued By Gingrich Fights Back — ‘You Should Be Ashamed’
    By Ian Millhiser on Feb 13, 2012

    Texas federal Judge Fred Biery is a key villain in GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s narrative about why federal judges are out of control and must be intimidated into submission. Gingrich routinely cites a previous decision by Biery holding that the Constitution does not permit a public school district to sponsor a student-led prayer at graduation to justify eliminating courts that displease Gingrich.

    Fortunately, the actual parties to this lawsuit were not nearly as unreasonable as Mr. Gingrich, and they eventually agreed to settle the case after mediation. In his order approving the settlement, Biery includes an unusual “personal statement” directed at the many lawmakers who, like Gingrich, have painted him as some kind of enemy of religion:

    To the United States Marshal Service and local police who have provided heightened security: Thank you.

    To those Christians who have venomously and vomitously cursed the Court family and threatened bodily harm and assassination: In His name, I forgive you.

    To those who have prayed for my death: Your prayers will someday be answered, as inevitably trumps probability.

    To those in the executive and legislative branches of government who have demagogued this case for their own political goals: You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Biery also includes a clever dig and the many Christian right groups that have attacked him: “Any American can pray, silently or verbally, seven days a week, twenty four hours a day, in private as Jesus taught or in large public events as Mohammed instructed.”

  20. Jill, what do DEMOCRATS have to do with it? Perhaps you should check the records and see how many Republicans voted the NDAA in? EVERY one of our blasted senators and representatives in FL, be they D or R, voted for that piece of treason. It’s not a party issue!

    However, we are talking about an actual human being here, who has just lost over 25 years of his life. Because of a jerk who deserves the death penalty, as far as I’m concerned! The NDAA is a whole nother subject!

    Isn’t there some kind of way to hire people with integrity into DA positions?

  21. “It is the beginning,” he said. “When you do the right thing like the judge (Harle) did today everything falls into place. It is just a matter of time.” -Michael Morton (with video, including comments by Barry Scheck)

    GEORGETOWN — The prosecutor who convicted Michael Morton is now facing his own day in court. After spending 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, Morton has now seen two significant victories in the last four months.

    At a news conference on the Michael Morton case in mid-November, current Williamson County Judge Ken Anderson told reporters, “Frankly I do not want to talk about me right now.”

    Friday, even though he wasn’t at the Williamson County Courthouse, all the talk was about Anderson. More than a quarter century ago, Anderson was the lead prosecutor in the Morton case. Morton was convicted of murdering his wife Christine. After spending 25 years in prison, that decision was overturned based on new DNA evidence. Now it is Anderson who is facing a court of inquiry. The allegations are he hid evidence that could have exonerated Morton.

    “We really do believe that people should not hide evidence that doesn’t support their cause when it’s their obligation to reveal it,” said Barry Scheck, an attorney with the Innocence Project.

    Friday State District Judge John Harle sided with Morton’s attorneys who requested the inquiry.

    “This is not a small, or meaningless, or trivial step that was taken today,” said Scheck. “We think the evidence more than merited the finding the Judge Harle made today.”

    Anderson’s attorney’s do not agree with Scheck’s assessment.

    “They need to back up those accusations with evidence,” said Eric Nichols, one of Anderson’s attorneys. “We feel very comfortable that there was no evidence that would allow anyone to conclude that Judge Anderson violated any laws or any duties imposed on him as a prosecutor in the way the Michael Morton case was handled.”

    Looking tanned and sporting a goatee, Morton held up two fingers when asked if justice has now been served.

    “It is the beginning,” he said. “When you do the right thing like the judge (Harle) did today everything falls into place. It is just a matter of time.”

    Judge Harle’s ruling means the case will now be referred to the Texas Supreme Court which will decide if Anderson deserves a court of inquiry. During that inquiry judges will determine whether state laws were violated. However even that finding would not lead to a criminal conviction.

  22. Regarding a civil suit for damages under 42 U.S.C.Section 1983: Does the schmuck have prosecutorial immunity for this? Did he step over the line?

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