Texas Bar Taking Action Against Prosecutor in Innocence Case

The State Bar of Texas has found “just cause” to pursue disciplinary action against prosecutor Charles J. Sebesta, whose conduct in the trial of Anthony Graves (pictured) resulted in a wrongful conviction and death sentence. Sebesta, the District Attorney of Burleson County, did not inform Graves’ attorneys that the main witness against Graves had confessed to the crime. Graves spent over 18 years in prison, 12 of them on death row, before being exonerated in 2010. Kathryn Kase, Executive Director of the Texas Defender Service and counsel to Graves, said, “A prosecutor’s duty is not simply to secure convictions, but to see that justice is done. Conviction of an innocent man like Mr. Graves through prosecutorial misconduct is abhorrent and undermines public trust and confidence in the Texas justice system. The way to restore that trust and confidence is to hold prosecutors like Charles Sebesta accountable when they violate their legal and ethical obligations.”

Mr. Sebesta has chosen to have his case heard by an administrative judge, which means that the proceedings will be confidential until a final judgment is made. The maximum penalty he faces is disbarment and loss of his license to practice law in Texas.

(Press Release, “State Bar Has Found Just Cause to Pursue Disciplinary Action Against Prosecutor Who Wrongfully Convicted Anthony Graves,” Texas Defender Service, July 7, 2014.) See Innocence.