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Former Texas prosecutor and judge should get more jail time in wrongful conviction case

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Ken Anderson ArrestedFt. Lauderdale, Fl – A Texas judge who admitted he lied and withheld exculpatory evidence in a murder case when he was a prosecutor — a case in which the innocent defendant received a life sentence, should have received a sentence of more than just 10 days in jail, Florida Civil Rights and Defense Attorney John M. Castellano said today.

Former Texas Judge Ken Anderson was Williamson County’s district attorney for 16 years before becoming a judge in 2002. He withheld evidence in the case against Michael Morton that pointed to another suspect in the murder of Morton’s wife Christine Morton. Years later, DNA tests led police to Mark Norwood, who was convicted of the murder earlier this year.

Facts in the case clearly show Anderson’s light jail sentence is unjust, Contini said, sending the wrong message about judicial officials who violate their responsibilities.

“It is a far worse crime when the people entrusted with the responsibility to protect the public, such as police, prosecutors and judges, engage in criminal behavior that results in a miscarriage of justice as in the Morton case, “ Contini, a prominent Florida Criminal Attorney, said.

“The prosecutor’s actions sent an innocent victim to prison for 25 years for murder. When Anderson was convicted for withholding favorable evidence, he only received 10 days in jail. This disparity in treatment is unconscionable.”

A former prosecutor, Contini called corruption involving law enforcement “a particularly disturbing trend” that not only undermines the American system of justice but results in wrongful convictions of innocent people.

“The prosecutor’s duty is to seek justice, not convictions. Anderson should receive a lengthier sentence of incarceration — after all, he essentially took a man’s life with complete indifference to perhaps destroying the man’s family and killing his future,” Contini said.

“It should serve as a wakeup call to all prosecutors who abuse their office, and God willing, might deter other prosecutors from lying or ignoring evidence of innocence in their zeal to win. It might also serve as a check against any inappropriate self-righteousness, reminding prosecutors to keep their humanity as they prosecute the accused.”

Contini, a Federal Criminal Defense lawyer, praised the Innocence Project which found the evidence that brought Anderson to justice.

Anderson was also ordered to perform 500 hours of community service and surrender his law license.

“The vast majority of police and prosecutors are professionals who conduct themselves ethically and with the best interests of the public in mind,” said Contini, a former Broward County felony trial prosecutor who has successfully represented thousands of criminal defendants in Florida, Massachusetts and the US in the past 25 years.

In 2009, a Miami Beach Police Officer stopped two South Beach tourists and shot one in the head at point blank range while his hands were raised in submission. Contini represented the unarmed Husien Shehada who the officer claimed was a “terrorist” carrying an AK-47.

The officer was never punished for the killing. He was involved in a questionable shooting death of another unarmed man four days after killing Shedada. He later resigned after testing positive for drugs.

Contini’s Ft. Lauderdale legal practice is recognized for successfully representing defendants in State and Federal cases involving murder, drugs, white-collar, sex, and federal crimes.

A faith-based Christian legal authority on individual rights and freedoms, Contini authored several books on crime including “Danger Road: A True Crime Story of Murder and Redemption.”

 

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About the Author:

John M. Castellano is a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney who has helped thousands of clients throughout Florida. While building a reputation as a premiere Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney, Mr. Castellano has worked tirelessly to develop strategies to best protect the rights of those arrested for DUI in Broward, Dade and West Palm. However, Mr. Castellano is not just a drunk driving lawyer. He has been a successful domestic violence attorney, drug trafficking attorney, as well as all other Felony and Misdemeanor cases.

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