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A former Texas district attorney plead guilty to intentionally failing to disclose evidence. Ken Anderson, former district attorney for Williamson County will be serving 10 days in jail and is giving up his license to practice law. Anderson withheld information that led to the conviction of an innocent man, Michael Morton, whose trial in 1987 led him to serve 25 years in prison for a murder we now know he didn’t commit.
Anderson was found in contempt of court by Judge Kelly Moore during a hearing in Georgetown. During Morton’s Trial in 1987, Anderson told the judge handling the case that he had no favorable evidence to give Morton’s attorney.
Anderson agreed to a plea deal that will require him to pay 500 dollars and complete 500 hours of community service. The original charges against Anderson include tampering with evidence, although they were dropped as part of his deal.
The law requires prosecutors to provide the defense with any evidence that may help their defense. However, Anderson withheld some critical evidence that could have proven Morton’s innocence. This information included a witness that reported a man parking a green van close to Morton’s home and walking into the woods and Morton’s son’s testimony that said his father was not at the scene.
Morton was released in 2011, after serving 25 years in prison his innocence was proven. New DNA evidence led to the conviction of Mark Alan Norwood, the evidence proved that Norwood beat Christine Morton to death in her bed.
The state bar of Texas also filed a lawsuit against Anderson, accusing him of professional misconduct during the Morton trial. As part of the settlement Anderson has agreed to give up his law license.
“I said the only thing that I want, as a baseline, is Ken Anderson to be off the bench and no longer practicing law, both of those things have happened, and more.” Morton said after Anderson’s hearing.
Anderson did not speak during his hearing and made no comments afterward.
This is the first time that a prosecutor has ever been convicted of criminal contempt, lost their license and will go to jail in the History of the United States.