At Last.

Special Prosecutor Kelly Siegler finally saw her way clear to dismissing capital murder charges against a factually innocent man who spent 18 years in prison because of prosecutorial misconduct. Kudos to Siegler for doing the right thing, and to Graves’s defense lawyers, Katherine Scardino and Jimmy Phillips, for keeping the heat on until Kelly did the right thing. Anthony Graves is free.

Charles Sebesta, the prosecutor who concealed exculpatory evidence and knowingly presented false testimony (read the Texas Monthly article by Pamela Colloff) to put Graves on death row, is not free and will not be until the day he dies (or beyond, if you believe in an afterlife and Justice). Publicly unrepentant (even taking out an ad last year defending the conviction), Sebesta will go to his grave carrying the burden of the private knowledge that he’s lying, cheating filth who destroyed an innocent man’s life.

Inside the prison
There is a prison
Inside the person.

10 responses to “At Last.”

  1. Due to the large numbers of exonerations nationwide, and the findings of a tremendous amount of prosecutorial misconduct, there has been an outcry in many states calling for punishment of these convictions-first attorneys. The latest one is California, where a study found that over a 13-year period, 600 prosecutors had committed misconduct according to rulings by state and federal appellate judges. They ranged from small technical mistakes to unfair and deceptive tactics to win cases, such as hiding evidence. The study analyzed about 4,000 appellate court rulings from 1997 through 2009.

    Of course we must all acknowledge that were it not for smarmy investigators and police officers who first brought the cases and in many times the bogus evidence to the prosecutor’s office in the first place this wouldn’t occur nearly as often. Can you imagine anyone in the Harris County DA’s office having the nerve to question evidence brought to them by law enforcement against a defendant? Never happen. They are a team and no ADA’s want to risk their reputation and have uncooperative officers testifying in their cases and potentially ruining their careers.

  2. I am living this nightmare right now, the officer did not check out the complaintant’s evidence (statement that her attacker had certain tattoo’s, jewelry, etc) only took her word for it and arrested a family member of mine. Prosecutors moved forward, without asking any questions either, and here we sit with him in jail, awaiting trial…waiting, waiting, waiting, reset, reset, reset, DA hasn’t even opened the file to look at it….oh well, what do they care about the lives they have ruined right?

  3. Mark,

    For a while now I have distrusted a great many professions. Yours is one of them. Today, you restored a little faith with this post. I can see by your writing on this topic that you actually give a crap whether this man is a client, or just someone that was rammed by the system.

    Thanks for that.

  4. Am I the only one who would like to see the law put Sebesta in Graves’ cell for the rest of *his* life?

    If destroying an innocent person’s life doesn’t cost anything, it will happen again.

    • I think it’s safe to say that Sebesta has convinced himself intellectually that Graves was guilty. It is not likely that any amount of evidence will change his mind. Being wrong is too horrible to contemplate. But our intellects can’t control what comes creeping out of the deeper recesses of our brains in the darkest hours of the night.

  5. You’re assuming that Sebesta has a conscience that could wake him at night. Why, because he only framed Mr.Graves? What if we find another similar case, would you still believe he has a conscience? What if we find 10-12 other innocent men that he framed? How many innocents framed must one have before it’s assumed he is a sociopath who is completely lacking of a conscience? Sorry, but I believe he knew he had sent an innocent to prison years ago. I have read the case histories of more than two dozen exonorees. And the one common denominator every one of them share are the DA’s who’s egos compelled them to fight to the very last breath before they could admit they were wrong. And in 99% of the cases the DA never apologized are admitted their mistakes. The absolute worst example of this is the case of Clarence Elkins. Everyone who thinks prosecutors are justice-minded need to read the Elkins case. It will make you cry. Then, it will make you mad…

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