Grits for Breakfast recently posted on a Dallas murder case with a strong prosecutorial misconduct claim that prosecutors knowingly presented false evidence.
State informants testified at trial that they received nothing in exchange for their testimony that they heard the defendants in the case confess to the crime. But letters they wrote suggested otherwise: that they gave the testimony with an expectation of leniency.
Grits for Breakfast notes:
The Michael Morton Act passed in 2013 required prosecutors to make such evidence available to the defense before trial, but clearly to deal with older cases there should probably be some sort of post-conviction discovery available in habeas proceedings. If Dallas DA Craig Watkins’ office hadn’t voluntarily opened up its files in this case, the underlying prosecutorial misconduct would never have been discovered.
It’s also worth mentioning that the original case relied heavily on jailhouse informants, but if the case were retried today that testimony would have to be corroborated. Texas law didn’t include such a requirement until 2009 when state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa passed a corroboration mandate for jailhouse snitch testimony.
Read the post here.