I found this article today in the Huffington Post
“Former prosecutor and judge, Ken Anderson, pled guilty to intentionally failing to disclose evidence in a case that sent an innocent man, Michael Morton, to prison for the murder of his wife. When trying the case as a prosecutor, Anderson possessed evidence that may have cleared Morton, including statements from the crime’s only eyewitness that Morton wasn’t the culprit. Anderson sat on this evidence, and then watched Morton get convicted. While Morton remained in prison for the next 25 years, Anderson’s career flourished, and he eventually became a judge. In today’s deal, Anderson pled to criminal contempt, and will have to give up his law license, perform 500 hours of community service, and spend 10 days in jail. Anderson had already resigned from his position on the Texas bench.”
While some attorneys and members of the media are pleased that a state agent will finally go to jail for convicting an innocent man, it seems to me that the sentence just might not fit the crime. An innocent man is sent to prison for 25 years for a crime he didn’t commit pursuant to a state-agent’s failure to disclose evidence that would have prevented the innocent man from ever seeing the inside of a jail cell, and the guy gets 10 days? Michael Morton served 25 years in prison. While it’s nice to see a court at least attempt to hold state-agents accountable, the sentencing judge clearly wasn’t too bothered by the former prosecutor’s behavior.
Most Washington State prosecutors would never dream of withholding evidence that could exonerate a defendant. However, I would contend that it isn’t uncommon for a prosecutor (or law enforcement officer) to forget what their actual duties are.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a crime in Washington State, contact Veitch Ault & Associates immediately (425) 307-5515 to make sure that things get handled the right way.