Legal Ethics

Texas Bar Files Disciplinary Case Against Ex-DA, Who Is Now a Judge, re Murder Prosecution

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A former district attorney who is now a Texas judge is facing a state bar disciplinary case, accused of withholding evidence and making false statements during the 1987 trial of Michael Morton for the murder of his wife.

Former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson, who was named prosecutor of the year by the state bar in 1995 and appointed by the governor to the bench in 2002, has said he is sorry about justice system errors in Morton’s case but maintained that he himself did nothing wrong, the Texas Tribune reports.

His attorney, Eric Nichols, said Anderson disagrees with the positions taken and the allegations made by the state bar in the disciplinary case and “we intend to defend against these allegations in the public forum of a court of law.”

Nichols noted that Anderson could have opted for a confidential disciplinary proceeding, but said his client chose to have a public trial to clear his name, reports the Austin American-Statesman.

Morton was released from prison, after serving 24 years, when newly tested DNA evidence exonerated him and pointed to another man as a culprit in the slaying of Morton’s wife. That individual is now charged and maintains his innocence.

Possible remedies, if Anderson is determined after a trial to have violated attorney legal ethics rules range from a reprimand to disbarment, reports the Associated Press.

Additional and related coverage: “‘Extraordinary Legal Event’ Unfolds as Man Exonerated of Wife’s Murder Seeks to Hold DA Accountable” “Special Court to Probe Claims Ex-DA, Now a Texas Judge, Concealed Murder Case Evidence 25 Years Ago” “Rusty Hardin Is Special Prosecutor in Court of Inquiry Probing DA’s Role in Morton Murder Conviction”

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