Thursday, October 13, 2011

Texas prosecutor (now a judge) enables a murderer to kill again (while pursuing the wrong suspect)

It is hard to describe Texas and its system of state-sponsored homicide and its out-of-control prosecutors except to say that prosecutors and judges in the Lone Star State must be taking lessons from Buzz Franklin, Chris "Cruisemaster" Arnt, Len "The Man-Racist" Gregor, and "judge" brian outhouse. However, a former prosecutor who now is a judge, not only engaged in prosecutorial misconduct, but his misconduct virtually guaranteed that a woman would be murdered.

The case centers around the wrongful conviction of a man for murder and, as this article in Forbes demonstrates, by deliberately (yes, deliberately, given the evidence) going after the wrong man, the prosecutor, Ken Anderson -- now Judge Ken Anderson -- made sure that the real murderer was not impeded, and two years later the killer struck again. The article notes:
AUSTIN, Texas -- Caitlin Baker was 3 when her mother, Debra, was beaten to death and left naked in bed in her Austin home. Although the pain of the loss has faded in the 23 years since, her anger that her mother's killer was never caught has not.

Less than two years before that January 1988 slaying, unbeknownst to all but a few people until recently, the mother of another woman bludgeoned to death in bed during an attack at her home about 15 miles away told an investigator that her 3-year-old grandson watched a "monster" do the killing, not his father, as police suspected. She urged him to pursue other leads, but her daughter's husband, Michael Morton, was instead convicted of murder and sentenced to life.
There is much more to this sickening story. In the original case that Anderson prosecuted, there was the usual aspect of the prosecution ignoring evidence that led to another killer. (Like the drunk looking for his keys under a street lamp instead of where he dropped them because the "light is better" under the lamp, Anderson was like most prosecutors in that he went for the easy conviction and the truth be damned.)

Anderson's misdeeds included hiding exculpatory evidence (a favorite tactic of prosecutors throughout this country) and lying (something prosecutors do all the time):
Investigations have been ongoing into the actions (or lack thereof) by the prosecutor in this case because there is reason to believe that evidence which would prove that Morton was innocent was withheld by the district attorney’s office of Williamson County.

The evidence withheld includes: (1) the eyewitness account of Morton’s young son, who said that the killer was not his father; (2) the victim’s Visa card found later at a store in San Antonio; (3) a cashed check, made out to the victim, with an apparent forged endorsement on the back where it was cashed almost two weeks after the homicide; and (4) the bandanna found at the crime scene with DNA evidence on it (which has been the basis of the vacated conviction).
Why did Anderson withhold this crucial evidence? Like any typical prosecutor, he wanted to win and knew that prosecutorial immunity protected him, and once he had focused upon Michael Morton, he wanted to do what he could to pound square pegs into round holes.

So, Morton went to prison where he sat there for 25 years until the courts ordered him to be free. However, this is not a typical story of "new evidence exonerates innocent man." No, it was a case of one of Anderson's successors, Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley who, according to Time Magazine, is "a well-connected ally of Texas Governor Rick Perry" and "who fought tenaciously for six years to keep Morton behind bars."

I'll get back to the Bradley-Perry-Anderson show, but in the meantime, there is even more to this sickening story. Two years after the murder of Morton's wife, another woman, Debra Baker, was murdered in the same way that Morton's wife had been killed, a crime that police and prosecutors did not bother to solve. (Was it because in solving it, they would have been forced to take a hard look at the Morton case? I would not be surprised, given the depraved nature of police and prosecutors in this country today.)

Lest one think I am exaggerating, DNA evidence from both crime scenes implicate the same man:
New DNA testing linked the killings of Debra Baker and Christine Morton to another man with a prison record in several states. Police have not publicly identified the suspect, whom they are trying to locate, but his genetic links to both slayings led to Morton's release from prison last week after nearly 25 years behind bars, and his formal exoneration by an appeals court on Wednesday.
However, we are fortunate that Morton's attorneys were able to find the DNA, given the efforts of Rick Perry's allies, of Bradley and Anderson to suppress evidence. Again, the record shows:
In early 2005, Morton’s attorneys sought DNA testing on a blood-stained bandana found outside the Morton home on the day after the brutal murder, which took place on Aug. 13, 1986. Court records show that Bradley, who was appointed by Perry in 2001 and was not Morton’s original prosecutor, sought to prevent that testing from ever taking place and tried to limit its effect on the case.

At first, Bradley argued that testing the bandana would open the floodgates to an indeterminable amount of new evidence. “One has to wonder whether petitioner would file another motion at some future date seeking additional testing of even more items,” he wrote in October of 2005. In a 2009 filing, Bradley argued that the bandana was irrelevant because it was found “a football field’s length” from the Morton’s house, and that if any DNA testing did take place “it should not incorporate the possibility of a match of any DNA profile recovered from the bandana to a known offender.

District attorneys vary widely in their willingness to consider new evidence, but Bradley’s efforts make him an outlier. The Innocence Project says it has to fight a prosecutor’s objections to DNA testing in less than half of its cases, and most resistance dries up quickly. Death penalty opponents are particularly critical of prosecutors who resist DNA testing. Steve Hall, director of the StandDown Texas project, called Bradley’s behavior in the Morton case “abhorrent.”

Morton’s attorneys ultimately prevailed on the DNA issue in May 2010. A 2011 lab report showed that blood on the bandana matched Christine Morton’s DNA, and that DNA from a hair on the bandana matched that of a convicted felon in California, as well as DNA recovered at the site of a similar, unsolved murder of another Texas woman.

DNA wasn’t the only potentially exculpatory evidence that Bradley tried to wall off. Morton’s lawyers had long wondered about the original prosecutors’ decision not to seek testimony from the chief investigator in the case, Sgt. Don Wood of the Williamson County Sherriff’s office. But when they filed a Public Information Act request in 2008 to view Wood’s files, Bradley tried to block the release. TIME reviewed a flurry of correspondence about the records request between the Innocence Project, the sheriff’s office, and the Texas attorney general’s office. A 2008 letter from the AG to the sheriff’s office notes that, “The Williamson County District Attorney’s Office is a party to the litigation and has requested that the information be withheld.”

Again, when Morton’s attorneys ultimately prevailed, they found compelling evidence that their client was innocent: a transcript of a phone call in which Morton’s mother-in-law told Wood that Morton’s three-year-old son had witnessed a different man commit the murder, and a hand-written message to Wood dated August 15, 1986, showing that Christine’s credit card had been recovered at a jewelry store in San Antonio two days after the murder. With the new evidence he sought to block made public, Bradley capitulated and freed Morton last week.
This is depraved behavior from a man voted by Texas district attorneys several years ago as the "top prosecutor" in Texas. (If anything, it demonstrates just how dishonest and utterly depraved prosecutors and "law enforcement" in Texas really are.)

Unfortunately, there is even more, and this deals in the infamous Cameron Todd Willingham execution in which it is strongly suspected that the State of Texas executed an innocent man:
At the same time that Bradley was showing his penchant for stonewalling evidence in the Morton case, Perry appointed him to another sensitive position. By 2009, several studies had been conducted suggesting that the 1991 house fire that killed Cameron Todd Willingham’s three daughters was not arson and that the experts who sealed Willingham’s conviction with testimony to the contrary had based their investigation on outdated techniques.

The Texas Forensic Science Commission, a state organization tasked with ensuring that forensic investigations adhere to the highest scientific standards, began reviewing the evidence. But in late September 2009, Perry fired three commission members, including its chairman, just days before they were scheduled to hear testimony from an outside arson expert who had determined that the evidence against Willingham was based on shoddy science. Perry chose Bradley to take over the commission, and he quickly cancelled the testimony, effectively burying the investigation.
Again, we are dealing with utter depravity and one of the people responsible for the State of Texas covering up its misdeeds is Rick Perry, who now wants to be President of the United States. A well-known Baptist minister recently endorsed Perry from his pulpit, and I have the sinking feeling that the minister is quite aware of the perfidy outlined in this post -- and could not give a damn.

Just like the churches in the LMJC that have helped enable people like "judge" brian outhouse and Len Gregor, we see that the churches in Texas are placing their stamp of approval upon behavior that in the Old Testament would have resulted in men like Bradley, Anderson, and Perry being stoned to death. And apparently, they want those anti-Christian "standards of justice" to be the standard for the USA. All I can say is God help us.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I shudder every time I hear a "Christian" say they like candidates who are "tough on crime."

J. Todd Walters said...

Thank you for this blog. Please let "Dateline" and "60 minutes" know about these crimes. The country needs to know.

Robert Heid said...

Is there any way that guys like Bradley can be disciplined or disbarred in Texas, in any way similar to Nifong having to answer for his misdeeds in North Carolina?

Lynne said...

Excellent analysis. I read about this case but hadn't realized that those two murders were 2 years apart. It is inexcusable that they took 6 years to finally agree to allow the DNA testing. And all the hiding of exculpatory evidence. They should not be allowed to get away with this!

liberranter said...

JTW: "Dateline" and "60 Minutes," both being propaganda fonts for the Regime that produces scum like Anderson and Bradley, couldn't care less about the victims of these creatures' crimes.

Robert: The odds of a repeat of the Nifong case, in which a rogue prosecutor is actually held accountable for his/her actions (though not nearly to the extent his/her crimes warranted), are infinitesimally small, if not nonexistent. In just the few years since the Duke debacle, agents of the State have closed ranks tighter than ever and will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they avoid accountability for their crimes.

William L. Anderson said...

I agree wholeheartedly. We hear that there really is accountability for prosecutors because they can be charged with crimes or disciplined by state bars, but reality is that neither happens as often as it should.

When state bars discipline prosecutors, it usually is because of political considerations. Nifong had turned the Duke case into a national spectacle, and by so doing put the spotlight on himself. He rolled the dice and put officials in a terrible place when it was demonstrated he was lying and hiding exculpatory evidence. Had North Carolina officials done nothing, then I can assure you that the consequences would have been great, as juries all over the state would have questioned prosecutors.

So, Nifong was the sacrificial lamb (or maybe goat or even wolf) for the rest of the prosecutors. However, it also gave them insurance, as they could point to his case and declare: "See? Prosecutors in NC have to be honest or they will get into trouble."

J. Todd Walters said...

I have to disagree. Nifong was held accountable because so many people stood up and demanded it. The fact that Perry was not taken to task by the press for his actions in removing members of The Texas Forensic Science Commission is the fault of the public for not demanding justice. Again, if 1,000 people wrote letters, made calls and protested elected officials would not be able to hide from questions. Cameron's story was in Esquire and many more people around the country want justice for him and now for Mr. Morton.

William L. Anderson said...

Todd,

I understand your point, but keep in mind that a lot of people wanted Nifong to be the subject of a criminal investigation, and both the state and feds punted. In the federal situation, I am sure that Liddy Dole (who was silent the whole time) did not want the Bush administration to do anything to rile up the black voters (who, frankly, continued to support Nifong, or at least supported much of what he did) and the Bushies suddenly "discovered" their version of federalism.

Perry does not seem to have suffered much politically from what he did in the Cameron case. And no other entity in Texas is doing anything regarding the misconduct of Anderson and Bradley.

I hope you are right and that there is a movement, but for now I don't see it. So many of these unjust criminal prosecutions are politically useful and as long as the American public continues to support injustice, we will have injustice.

Doc Ellis said...

Greetings Dr Anderson

Shared

Thank you for writing this

Doc Ellis 124

Lynne said...

Another prosecutor in TX is objecting to DNA testing, because it could override what the jury decided. Just incredible.

http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2011/10/mclennan-da-fights-dna-testing-because.html

William L. Anderson said...

One thinks that these people cannot act any more depraved -- and then they go and lower the bar.

Anonymous said...

The Nifong case was politically charged to the extreme (impoverished black "victim", wealthy white "rascist assailants", the "crime" happened at a university only interested in maintaining its Political Correctness). That MOST people today regard the episode as a "perfect storm" of circumstances that caused the criminal justice system to break down -- but ultimately recover with the acknowledged innocence of the defendants and (albeit brief) incarceration of the "rogue" prosecutor -- is probably understandable.

We who read this blog know differently. This was BUSINESS AS USUAL for the criminal "justice" system as it exists today.

Cases such as the one highlighted in the current entry of this blog have no obvious political, racial, or otherwise "noble" overtones. The crime itself -- which was repeated against yet another victim after an innocent man was convicted in the first attack -- was very brutal and very simple.

Given the facts here, there simply is no other explanation for what happened within the criminal justice system, other than the police and prosecution sought to close the case by convicting -- by whatever means necessary -- anyone that could be. And, once the conviction was obtained, fought to defeat any attempt to suggest the conviction was incorrect.

The question raised is: IS there a chance for change, if enough people voice their outrage? Cases such as the one highlighted in this blog entry ... of which there are many, for sure ... probably have more chance of attaining momentum for change, than the Nifong case ever could.


dc

tmyockim said...

My brother was recently wrongly convicted of sexual assault on a minor. He was told by his public defender "This is a freight train coming down the tracks and we don't know how to stop it. You need to take the plea deal"!

Because we had four adults who said it couldn't have happened, we were home all night and one of them had been seriously injured on the job that morning, we counseled him to go to trial. Well, our defense refused to attack the credibility of the kid and neglected to offer important evidence, he got convicted. Even though his post trial psycho-sexual report came back saying he was not a danger to children, HE WAS SENTENCED TO 100 YRS! 50 suspended and 25 to serve. He will be 70 yrs old then, if we lose the appeal. Can you call me? Thanks for all you do! Sincerely, Theresa Yockim sis59722@yahoo.com 406-202-5185

Lynne said...

The bar is actually investigating this. I think your article may have helped!

Keep up the good work.

http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/state-bar-of-texas-in-rare-move-launches-1924108.html

Marie said...

Thank you for another article Mr.Anderson. This is slightly off topic...but have you read about Harris County District Attorney's (Houston,TX) latest scandal involving a grand jury. I wouldn't go into in here, but it's definately worth checking into. It's disgraceful what DA's and prosecutors can get away with.

Marie said...

What people regular folk don't realize that many of these injustices can be stopped at the Grand Jury. However, it appears that many times the prosecutors aren't even prepared and the case winds up getting billed. It's sad that our justice system is incompetent and filled with overworked, overzealous prosecutors and judges.

Anonymous said...

Well it's that time again in Catoosa County for the Good Ole Boys to have one of their fundraisers for the Child Advocacy Center, that's right, most people are in sleazy outfits and booze galore, hey but it's for the kids right, hypocrits!!!! They got rid of Wild in the Woods during the Tonya Craft Trial, but now they hold a Wild O Ween party instead go figure, dressing half naked is part of the fundraising I guess. What a shame!!!!

Lynne said...

Here's another update - prosecutors are being ordered to answer questions via depositions. Interestingly the investigative sheriff has "memory loss" and doesn't remember any hiding of exculpatory evidence.

http://www.statesman.com/news/local/judge-orders-former-prosecutors-to-testify-in-morton-1932064.html

Marie said...

Lynne, how convient that the sheriff has memory lose....absoutely disgusting! The justice system here in Texas is awful, good luck if you get accused of anything they will not investigate and nail you to the wall. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Harris county DA (Pat Lycos) gets what's coming to her (look at the latest scandal) in Harris county (Houston, TX). She's the worst yet which is saying a lot since Chuck Rosenthal. Hopefully Patsy and her crew will not win reelection.

liberranter said...

Lynne, how convient that the sheriff has memory lose....absoutely disgusting!

Maybe some "pokey time" in one of his own jails will refresh that memory, quickly.

San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney said...

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San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney said...

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