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Two Oklahoma City prosecutors who were fired for withholding exculpatory evidence in a 2012 murder case are now facing disciplinary action from the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

The Oklahoma State Bar has asked the Supreme Court to reprimand former district attorneys Pamela Jean Kimbrough and Stephanie Bradley Miller for failing to disclose the inconsistent statements of a key witness to a 2010 murder which resulted in Billy Michael Thompson’s 2012 conviction and sentence to life imprisonment.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater fired Miller and Kimbrough for suppressing conflicting statements about where the murder took place and referred the prosecutors to the Attorney General for investigation for possible criminal violations. In a press release about the case (provided by blogger Mark Bennett here) Prater described their misconduct as follows:

The joint investigation confirmed that the witness did make a statement to the assistant district attorneys that was materially inconsistent to his original statement made to the Oklahoma City Police Department. The substance of the inconsistent statement was not disclosed to defense counsel. The assistant district attorneys allowed defense counsel to stipulate to the witness’s testimony without including the subsequent inconsistent statement. Finally, in their closing arguments, the assistant district attorneys argued that the witness’s stipulated testimony corroborated other trial testimony.

It was another prosecutor, who had watched closing arguments in the Thompson case, that first reported concerns about the prosecutors’ conduct. Thompson was ultimately granted a new trial, where he was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In its complaint to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the State Bar said that the prosecutors’ “conduct and their termination from the district attorney’s office were widely publicized and reflected poorly upon the integrity of the legal professional and the judicial system.” Read more at The Oklahoman here.

 

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