If You Don’t Despise Prosecutors, You’re Not Paying Attention

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The State of Texas stole eighteen years from Anthony Graves. If the despicable people who fraudulently convicted him of murder had their way, the State would have murdered Graves years ago. Charles Sebesta — the corrupt former D.A. who prosecuted Graves — suborned perjury, misrepresented physical evidence, and withheld exculpatory evidence during the capital murder trial. Last February, the Texas Comptroller’s Office denied Graves the $1.4 million to which he was entitled as compensation for being unjustly imprisoned: Through a judge’s “oversight,” the words “actual innocence” didn’t appear in the judicial order authorizing Graves’s release from prison.

For all it has done to him, the State is not content to leave Graves alone: The Attorney General’s Office is pilfering $175 from the $3,000 monthly salary he earns as an investigator for the Texas Defenders Service, an organization representing other death penalty defendants. This is supposedly required to satisfy a child support order imposed on Graves while he was in prison — where he wouldn’t have been, of course, if Sebesta and his corrupt little clique hadn’t conspired to frame him for a murder he didn’t commit.

On April 20, Graves was invited to Prairie View A&M University to address an “overflow crowd” concerning his case, reports the Houston Chronicle. The school offered a $250 honorarium to compensate him for his time and travel expenses. That money was never paid: The Attorney General’s Office “garnished” — that is, stole — it before Graves saw a penny.

“The state of Texas tried to kill me for something I didn’t do and now they are trying to get child support out of me,”complained Graves. This is typical behavior from the Texas Attorney General’s Office, which “persisted in prosecuting him for four years after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his conviction in 2006,” notes the Chronicle.

Graves has filed a lawsuit against the AG’s office demanding that it acknowledge his actual innocence. The AG’s office, which insists that it would be illegal to offer formal recognition of that irrefutable fact, also maintains that it has the sad duty to continue stealing from Graves, because it is “obligated to collect the money that the court has ordered be paid.” Their scrupulosity over such matters is quite selective: When ordered to release an innocent man, the AG’s office can contrive sufficient wiggle room to justify keeping him imprisoned another four years — but when ordered to mulct the pittance that innocent man makes after being wrongly imprisoned, the AG is hyper-fastidious in applying the strict letter of the “law.”

Attorney General Greg Abbott “is clearly a vindictive guy and he’s ordering this retaliation,” explains attorney Jeff Blackburn, who has represented the long-suffering man.  “It’s a completely immoral position, and to me it proves that Greg Abbott is at best a hypocrite and at worst just a cruel monster.”

To paraphrase one of Mencken’s more memorable lines, this kind of thing is enough to make even those who believe in non-violent resistance hoist the black flag and strike up the Deguello march. While there are a handful of honorable exceptions, the execrable Abbott — who, like Sebesta, clearly is made of the kind of stuff generally seen only in specimen jars in hospital gastrointestinal units — is quite typical of his almost uniformly loathsome profession. Anybody who doesn’t despise prosecutors simply isn’t paying attention.


12:57 am on May 1, 2011