Is the bar finally getting more serious with prosecutorial misconduct? Just as we sent our letter to Hon. Devon Anderson (Harris County District Attorney) regarding potential prosecutorial overreaching, media accounts of Charles Sebesta’s disbarment blew up.
Texas Monthly reports that Sebesta was found to have violated no less than 5 tenants of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, including:
- 3.03(a)(l ): “A lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal.”
- 3.03(a)(5): “A lawyer shall not knowingly offer or use evidence that the lawyer knows to be false.”
- 3.09(d): “A prosecutor in a criminal case shall make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense…”
- 8.04(a)(l): “A lawyer shall not violate these rules, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another…”
- 8.04(a)(3): “A lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
Charles Sebesta, the District Attorney who prosecuted Anthony Graves, was found to have withheld exculpatory evidence and to have presented false testimony in his effort to convict Anthony and send him to death row. Anthony Graves was ultimately exonerated after spending 18 years on death row, most of which was in solitary confinement.
Coincidentally, HCCLA sent a letter today to Devon Anderson asking her to investigate whether Assistant District Attorney Dan Rizzo committed criminal offenses or disciplinary violations in his role to prosecute Alfred Brown – where it was discovered that favorable evidence was not disclosed and Brown’s alibi witness was badgered by the grand jury until she changed her testimony and withdrew the alibi.
It is time for prosecutors to be held accountable for intentional violations of the law and disciplinary rules. It’s a new age. Change is here.
Download the opinion on lawyer discipline for Charles Sebesta here