The injustice of Ken Anderson’s 10-day sentence is blood boiling
Updated: 08 November 2013 10:55 PM
GEORGETOWN — A former Texas prosecutor charged over a wrongful murder conviction agreed to a 10-day jail sentence Friday, accepting the punishment in front of the innocent man he helped put in prison for nearly 25 years.
Ken Anderson also will be disbarred and must serve 500 hours of community service as part of a sweeping deal that was expected to end all criminal and civil cases against the embattled ex-district attorney.
Anderson, 61, never spoke in his return to the same Williamson County courthouse where he served as a state judge for 11 years before resigning in September.
Sitting behind Anderson in the gallery was Michael Morton, who was released from prison in 2011 after DNA evidence showed he didn’t beat his wife to death in 1986.
“It’s a good day,” said Morton, surrounded by his lawyers and family members. “I said the only thing that I wanted, as a baseline, is Ken Anderson to be off the bench and no longer practicing law — and both of those things have happened, and more.”
Anderson entered a plea of no contest to contempt of court. The charge stemmed from 1987, when Anderson, then the Williamson County district attorney, was asked by a judge whether he had anything to offer that was favorable to Morton’s defense. He said no.
But among the evidence Morton’s attorneys claim was kept from them were statements from Morton’s 3-year-old son, who witnessed the murder and said his father wasn’t responsible. There were also interviews with neighbors who said they saw another man near the Morton home before the slaying.
Anderson must report to Williamson County Jail by Dec. 2. Morton’s attorneys said that Anderson could serve as few as four days.
Anderson has previously apologized to Morton for what he called failures in the system but has said he believes there was no misconduct.
Morton’s attorneys announced afterward that there will be an audit of all cases handled by Anderson to look for other instances of misconduct. The audit will initially focus on people still serving jail time.
Morton was a regular presence at the Texas Capitol this spring and helped push through the Michael Morton Act, which helps compel prosecutors to share files with defense attorneys that can help defendants’ cases.
Texas leads the nation in prisoners set free by DNA testing — 117 in the last 25 years.
The Associated Press, Austin American-Statesman