Texas Prosecutor: No Epidemic of Misconduct, Actual Misdeeds are Rare


There is no epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct in Texas, says former prosecutor Shannon Edmonds, now with the Texas District & County Attorneys Association. Writing in the Austin American-Statesman, Edmonds says that, “claims about the prevalence of prosecutorial misconduct have been blown out of proportion, in this case by proponents of change playing fast and loose with the facts in an effort to bolster their claims.”

Texas appellate courts reviewed 69,000 criminal cases between 2004 to 2008. Citing a recent study, Edmonds says that even all of the 91 cases of prosecutorial misconduct are true, it was a minuscule 0.1 percent of appeals. Courts found that 72 of the 91 errors to be “harmless.” Edmonds argues that the courts define misconduct to include a criminal defendant failing to receive helpful evidence that even a scrupulous prosecutor never knew existed. “That is hardly the kind of thing that most people in the real world would label misconduct in their own job, but it is the sort of thing for which some defendants demand a prosecutor’s head on a platter,” Edmonds says.

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