Senator Ellis Press Release

For Immediate Release
July 7, 2014
Contact: David Edmonson
Office: 512-463-0113
Cell: 512-689-1050

Statement from Sen. Ellis on State Bar action regarding Charles Sebesta

(Austin, TX) // Today, Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) released the following statement regarding news that the State Bar of Texas has found just cause to pursue disciplinary action against Charles Sebesta, the prosecutor that oversaw the wrongful conviction of Anthony Graves.

"I'm pleased that the State Bar has found just cause to pursue disciplinary action against Charles Sebesta," said Senator Ellis. "It's imperative that we hold accountable people whose actions rob men like Anthony Graves of their lives and freedom. But, beyond holding them accountable after the fact, it's essential that we commit ourselves to advancing changes in our justice system that prevent wrongful convictions like Anthony's in the first place."

"That includes protecting recent changes in the law like the Michael Morton Act, which updated Texas' criminal discovery statute to ensure more open and transparent discovery in all criminal cases."

"Other reforms would also decrease the likelihood of wrongful convictions. If we simply recorded interrogations to improve the reliability of confessions, we could have known up front that the confession used against Anthony was unreliable. If we improve the quality of representation on the front end to ensure all people - rich and poor - are treated equally under the law, we could help uncover a flawed case like this before someone has to suffer in prison for over 18 years. At the bare minimum, Texans deserve a fair and accurate justice system - one with proper checks and balances and transparency to make sure all relevant facts come to light."

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