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Texas: Where it’s Better for 10 Innocent Men to Go to Prison, than for 1 Guilty Man to go Free!! Yee Ha!!! Hang Em High!!!

Scene: Somewhere in  the Texas Hill Country. A Giant Well Appointed Country House sits  above a beautiful sprawling ranch. Workers are everywhere busily adding  improvements. The owner, an older man of extreme wealth and  Power sits comfortably in his rocking chair. A house phone sits on a table next to him. He sips Bourbon, enjoying his  spread.  He is self-contented. Things are mostly jist as he would have them. Seated nearby, hanging on every word of the older man, is a cub reporter.  The older man, is  “splaining “how things work in Texas to  the cub reporter.

We Catch The Power Broker Mid-sentence:

“But you see, down here in Texas. We do thangs our way!!!  We always have and we always will.  The Innocent man he does the 25 years!!! The guilty man with a badge? Well son, He gets what we call a HALL PASS.”

( chuckles to himself)

“You know why that is? Come here. No, lean closer son. That’s it. Cuz down here in Texas we rather see 10 Innocent men go to prison than one guilty sombitch go free. Thats right. Thats it in a nutshell son. (Gesturing with finger as to make the point). We aint letting one guilty sombitch go.”

“So cuz of that, we gotta give our DA boys what we call  “Plenty of Leg Room”. They got to do whatever it takes. We can’t be tying their hands. And Ifn the process a few 1000, who ain’t done nothing wrong, get some time, well hell its a price WE’RE WILLING TO PAY!!! Yessireebob, its a price WE’RE willing to pay.”

“So when we get one wrong, it aint really wrong. Its just the system we done dee-vized.”

( The man Sips Bourbon while the cub reporter scratches his  head tryin to understand. The Cub reporter dutifully writes ” IT AINT WRONG”.
After Looking over his spread once more, the old power broker looks back at the  cub reporter)

“And By Gawd son, we aint fer a secund changing!  Oh hell these local trouble makers,like  than Houston lawyer John Whatshisname  just stirs thangs up. They brang them  Inn-O-Cent  Carpet baggin Yankees down here & get their picture taken huggin some ex con.”

“It don’t matter one bit. And  you wanna know why?” ( He is momentarily distracted by a small family dog. This is his youngest daughter Barbara Sue’s dog. She is up at the TCU)

“Come here  Chewchew. That’s a good dog.” ( he scratches the dog then flings a dog toy off the porch which the dog chases)

“That ChewChew is the dumbest damn dog we ever had. I dont know  why we have a dawg that caint hunt.”

“Where was I? ”

” Rat, I was telling you why It dont matter a bit. None of this here  stir matters. Cause Once these fancy lawyers leave, we just go on back to doing thangs like we always done.  We aint changing a Gawd damn thing! (spits). Ken   is a good ole boy. Hell, he was just doing his jawb.”

“They put him through hell.  That there Court of Inquiry was a damn “Court of Injury”*  for old Ken.  It aint right. He had to sit  in  the Sheriff”s Office drinking coffee and shooting the breeze For Five whole days. He missed his Golf game!!!! Hell he missed THE BARBEQUE!!!! THAT JUST AINT RIGHT!!!! ”

“And for what???”

“I will tell for what son.  For just  just doing his Jawb. That is all he done. Just done his Jawb.  I swear. We caint be givin in to this.  If we aint careful, next thang you know, ever DA in this State is gonna have to show his cards to them criminals and that just aint rat.”

“Will  let the dust settle on this  here deal and  then  I will make a few calls.  Well  get Ken  up and running again as a Visiting Judge and set this here matter rat.”

( the pnone rings. Ignoring the cub reporter, the man picks up the phone and shouts into it)

“Who is it?”

“Charlie? Charlie Sebesta, you old sumbitch. How are you getting by….”

Former Williamson County DA Ken Anderson deliberately withheld critical exculpatory evidence from Michael  Morton’s Lawyer. As a result Michael Morton was convicted of murder. After Serving 25 years in prison, Michael Morton was exonerated. Anderson’s punishment for deliberalty withholding the critical exculpatory evidence,lying about it and sending Michael Morton to prison for life, was 10 days in jail. Anderson  served only 5 days.  For every 5 years Michael Morton spent in prison as a direct result of Anderson’s criminal conduct,  Anderson  served 1 day in Jail. The innocent man did 25 year. The man who sent him to do the 25 years, did just 5 days.

The criminal justice system is often more criminal than just.

Until the Texas Legislature does the right  thing, and enacts laws providing for  felony prosecution of  rogue prosecutors, all Texas  Das will feel free to just “keep doin their jawb”, even if that includes hiding evidence and framing the innocent  like Ken Anderson did.

* Texas County and District Attorney’s Association (TCDAA) Exectutive Director referred to the Court of Inquiry earlier this year as a “Court of Injury” for former DA Ken Anderson. The reference was made during a recorded training seminar for DAs in Harris County, Texas.

Robb Fickman, Houston Texas, @rfickman

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