Discipline Is Rare in Cases of Prosecutorial Misconduct in Texas


In 91 criminal cases in Texas since 2004, the courts decided that prosecutors committed misconduct, ranging from hiding evidence to making improper arguments to the jury, according to Innocence Project data. Yet none of those prosecutors has ever been disciplined, reports the Texas Tribune. “It paints a bleak picture about what's going on with accountability and prosecutors,” said Cookie Ridolfi, founder of the Northern California Innocence Project, who researched misconduct data in Texas and other states.

At a symposium this week in Austin, exonerees, lawyers and legal scholars discussed the need for increased accountability for prosecutors. The symposium was part of a national accountability campaign by the New York-based Innocence Project. Prosecutorial misconduct has become a national issue in the wake of the high-profile exoneration cases, including one prosecuted by Ken Anderson in Williamson County, Texas. A man served 25 years of a life sentence before DNA results showed last year that he was innocent. His lawyers discovered that Anderson did not turn over evidence that could have led to his acquittal. A rare court of inquiry is scheduled to consider whether Anderson committed criminal misconduct.

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