Errors in Judgment: the Consequences of Prosecutorial Mistakes
A Texas Tribune investigation of 85 exonerations discovered more than a quarter involved prosecutorial misconduct.
The investigation showed instances of prosecutors concealing evidence and even simply misrepresenting the truth.
According to Jennifer Laurin, a professor at the Texas School of Law, “Right now, there is next to no oversight of what prosecutors do.”
Says Eric Olson, whose father was wrongfully convicted of murdering his mother: “Part of my life was taken away, first of all, because my mother was killed. Then I don’t understand why somebody would want to continue that chain of events by taking away someone’s father.”
In Olson’s case, his father, Michael Morton, was wrongfully incarcerated for 25 years because the prosecutor withheld evidence. Ultimately, DNA evidence exonerated Morton and implicated another man.
Even then the ordeal was not over as the family was then forced to endure yet another trial outlining the details of their loved one’s murder.
Citizens are “becoming increasingly leery of a justice system that safeguards the death penalty, yet doesn't hold accountable the prosecutors who argue for it,” Writes investigation author Brandi Grissom. “It is just as disconcerting for people to see a system that allows killers to go free while innocent Texans languish behind bars.”