A new report from Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project identifies America’s five deadliest head prosecutors out of the thousands that have held that office in the last 40 years. It specifically names Johnny Holmes, who served as the District Attorney of Harris County, Texas from 1979 to 2000; during his tenure, his office secured at least 200 death sentences. Since 2008, by contrast, Harris County juries have sent an average of one person to death row each year.
Today, in an astounding turn of events, prosecutors in Smith County dropped capital murder charges against Kerry Max Cook, in light of new evidence that severely undermined their case against him. Cook spent 20 years on death row in Texas.
The State Bar of Texas recently upheld its decision to disbar Charles Sebesta, the prosecutor responsible for the wrongful conviction of Anthony Graves. Graves spent 18 years in prison, including 12 years on Texas’ death row, and faced 2 execution dates as an innocent man. Since his exoneration in October 2010, he has served as a powerful advocate for criminal justice reform.
Late today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay of execution to Julius Murphy, pending further order from the court. Murphy was scheduled to be executed on November 3 for the 1997 robbery and shooting of Jason Erie. On September 24, 2015 attorneys filed pleadings identifying the existence of new evidence of prosecutorial misconduct calling into […]
Yesterday, Alfred Dewayne Brown became the 13th person in Texas and the 154th nationwide to be released from death row due to evidence of his wrongful conviction. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the capital murder charges against him after determining there was not enough evidence to re-try him for two murders that took place at a cash-checking business in Houston in 2003.
The Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas has made a “just cause” determination with respect to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against former Burleson County District Attorney Charles J. Sebesta, Jr. in his prosecution of Anthony Graves in 1994. As a result of Sebesta’s misconduct, Graves spent 18½ years of his life in prison, more than 12½ years of that on death row, for a crime he did not commit and of which he was later completely exonerated by honest prosecutors.
REPOST of Press Release from the Innocence Project: Newly Discovered Evidence Points to Possible False Testimony at Willingham’s Trial and Possible Prosecutorial Misconduct that May Have Contributed to His Wrongful Execution (Austin, TX; September 27, 2013) – Relatives for Cameron Todd Willingham were joined by exoneree Michael Morton at a press conference at the Texas capitol […]