Texas Prosecutor Disbarred for Wrongful Conviction of Death Row Inmate
Charles Sebesta has been disbarred after being found guilty of professional misconduct as Burleson County district attorney in the 1994 trial of Anthony Graves, which resulted in Graves spending 16 years on death row and nearly executed twice.
Graves was convicted of the murder of a family in 1994, though his co-defendant, Robert Carter, admitted to being the lone killer. The bar's disciplinary panel found that while Carter testified to a grand jury that Graves wasn't involved, Sebesta failed to correct Carter's incorrect testimony when Carter testified against Graves. The panel also found that Sebesta incorrectly identified an alibi witness for Graves as another suspect in the murders, resulting in the witness refusing to testify.
Graves filed the complaint against Sebesta in 2010 after being freed from prison, spending 18 years in prison, all but two years on death row. Graves' attorney, Kathryn Kase, said this situation is just another in an unfortunate line of prosecutors withholding evidence favorable to the defendant,
Even with the Michael Morton Act, I hear every week about prosecutors who are withholding favorable information and these two cases should communicate that the State Bar of Texas is not going to turn a blind eye to a prosecutor's violation of ethical duties.
Graves stated that his filing of the complaint was nothing personal towards Sebesta, but an effort to fix the criminal justice system and hold the necessary people accountable.
Since the complaint was originally filed, Sebesta created a website defending his actions during the trial and telling his side of the story.