Criminal Cases Also Need A Level Playing Field

A Texas District Attorney reportedly hides evidence and secures a murder conviction. Twenty-five years later DNA evidence exonerates an innocent man, and a Texas judge issues an arrest warrant for the former DA, who is now a judge himself.  Sounds like an episode of Law & Order?  Well, it’s not.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Law & Order: Criminal Intent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Statesman.com reported on April 19, 2013 in an article titled Judge Finds That Anderson Hid Evidence In Morton Murder Trial, that District Judge Louis Sturns issued “a blunt and scathing ruling” finding that former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson defrauded the innocent man’s lawyers and the presiding court to secure the conviction.

This court cannot think of a more intentionally harmful act than a prosecutor’s conscious choice to hide mitigating evidence so as to create an uneven playing field for a defendant facing a murder charge and a life sentence.

Mr. Anderson reportedly will appeal Judge Sturns’ ruling on the grounds that the judge exceeded his authority, that the findings were untrue, and that the statute of limitations barred the findings since the events took place over 20 years ago.

Although The Legal Reformer reports widely on issues in civil cases, defendants in the criminal system face many of the same issues.   The criminal system, like the civil system, also needs reform to level the playing field.

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