Texas Prosecutor Disbarred Following Misconduct in Anthony Graves Case
Former Texas prosecutor Charles Sebesta has been disbarred after the State Bar of Texas found that he withheld evidence and used false testimony to convict now-exonerated Anthony Graves of capital murder in 1994, according to an article in the Courier. Sebesta had served as district attorney in two Texas counties for 25 years, writes the Courier.
According to an article published last July in the Eagle, Sebesta’s conduct came under investigation last summer when Anthony Graves, a man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 18 years, filed a grievance with the State Bar that Sebesta had intentionally withheld evidence which pointed towards Graves’ innocence. Graves was charged with the 1992 murders of a 45-year-old woman, her daughter and four of her grandchildren; all six were found dead in a home that had been set on fire. Graves’ co-defendant, Robert Carter, initially implicated Graves by telling investigators that Graves participated in the murders, but Carter later told police that he only named Graves because he was pressured to identify a co-defendant, reported the Eagle.
Sebesta allowed Carter to falsely testify against Graves in court, even after Carter gave Sebesta statements prior to the trial which pointed to Graves’ innocence, wrote the Eagle. In 2006, a panel of three judges overturned Graves’ conviction after finding that two statements made by Carter had been withheld from the defense—one that claimed Carter’s wife was involved in the murders, and one that claimed Carter acted alone. After 18 years of wrongful imprisonment, 12 of which were spent on death row, Graves was released from prison in 2010, according to the Eagle.
The Courier writes that in a statement Friday, Graves said, “I have waited 20-plus years for complete justice and freedom. . . No one who makes it a goal to send a man to death row without evidence—and worse, while hiding evidence of my innocence—deserves to be a lawyer in Texas.”
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