Prosecutor who sent innocent man to death row is disbarred
AUSTIN, Texas — A former prosecutor who used false testimony and withheld evidence to send a now-exonerated man to Texas' death row has lost an appeal to overturn his disbarment.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the Board of Disciplinary Appeals on Monday upheld the decision of the State Bar of Texas to disbar Charles Sebesta. The board's decision is final.
The bar revoked the Burleson County district attorney's law license in June, finding he had engaged in prosecutorial misconduct in the case of Anthony Graves.
Graves was sentenced to death in 1994 in the slayings of six people in South Texas two years earlier. A federal appeals court reversed his conviction in 2006.
Graves spent 18 years in prison, including 12 on death row. He filed a complaint in January 2014.
And it was fortunate given Texas and their history of pulling the switch, trigger, lever (pick your favorite capital punishment method) that this man was not exterminated. As that is what Capital Punishment is - extermination of what they perceive as pests. It is sick sick sick. Given what we know about prison, living in those for the rest of one's life fits both cruel and unusual when it comes to punishment, death seems to be a relief.
Then we have the tale of two Lawyers. Man this story is a Lifetime movie in the making. I don't know what I love more? Oh wait it is the Ivy League pedigrees that the two whack jobs possess that just add a touch of class to this sordid story.
Who planted drugs in the PTA mom’s car? Upscale parents, and for petty reasons
The tangled and almost unbelievable story unfolded over the past two years in courtrooms in Orange County, Calif., as described in the Orange County Register and Los Angeles Times, and ended Friday with a $5.7 million lawsuit award.
It all began on an afternoon like any other.
Kelli Peters, the former PTA president, was overseeing an after-school tennis program at Plaza Vista Middle School in Irvine, Calif.
Jill Easter, a graduate of the School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley was there to pick up her son from the program, but when she pulled up, she noticed that he wasn’t at his usual spot.
Easter started blaming Peters for her son’s tardiness, to which Peters responded that Easter’s son may have been “slow to line up.”
Peters’s choice of words — “slow” — was construed by Easter as a comment on her son’s intelligence.
And it was all downhill from there.
Peters recalled to ABC News that after her comment about Easter’s son being “slow,” Easter had yelled, “I will get you.”
And try to “get” Peters she did. For the next year, Easter and her husband, Kent Easter, a law firm partner and Stanford graduate, wrote to the principal calling for Peters to be fired from her volunteer position, according to trial testimony. The letters, which the Easters also circulated to parents, accused Peters of leaving their son unsupervised and causing his anxiety attacks.
When this tactic failed, Peters told ABC, the Easters filed lawsuits against her alleging that she had threatened Jill Easter and had tried to kill her.
That’s when things really got serious.
In February 2011, Irvine police got a call. On the line was a purportedly concerned father reporting the troubling behavior of a fellow parent.
The man who identified himself as Vijay Chandrasekhar complained earnestly in an Indian accent about one of the parent volunteers at his daughter’s Plaza Vista Middle School who “might be under the influence.”
“I saw a car driving very erratically, and it continued on into the parking lot,” he said. “It looked like they had something tucked away in the car behind the seat. Drugs. All over the place.” The man calling himself Chandrasekhar said he thought he recognized the driver as a woman named Kelli.
It was an unusual complaint for Irvine, which consistently ranks among the safest cities in the country.
A police officer arrived at the school and told Kelli Peters to empty the contents of her white car as teachers, students and her own daughter looked on in astonishment.
Sure enough, a bag of marijuana could be seen peeking out from a seat pocket. Underneath it were containers of Percocet and Vicodin, powerful prescription pain killers often abused and sold illegally on the black market.
The officer laid the drugs out on top of the car for all to see, according to ABC.
At the sight of this, Peters burst into tears. She dropped down onto her knees and began reciting the usual lines: “Please, they’re not mine. I swear they’re not mine.” On the day that the drugs were found in Peters’s car, she took a sobriety test and was brought in for police questioning for two hours at the school.
“Do you know anyone who would do this to you?” the police asked.
An answer came to Peters instantly. There was at least one person, no doubt. A fellow parent named Jill Easter.
A quick investigation revealed that “Vijay Chandrasekhar” wasn’t the caller’s real name. Police traced the call to a Newport Beach hotel near Kent Easter’s law firm, and surveillance footage placed him there at the time of the report. They also found the Easters’ DNA on the pills and marijuana pipe planted in Peters’s car.
Two years ago, Kent Easter was convicted of felony false imprisonment, while his wife pleaded guilty to the same charge. The Stanford graduate spent 86 days in jail; the Berkeley grad was there for 60 days.
He represented himself during the criminal trial, in which he argued that Jill Easter manipulated him while carrying on an affair with a local firefighter.
But it wasn’t over yet.
Peters filed suit against the couple. At the civil trial last week, Kent Easter admitted that he had “very stupidly, and unfortunately” planted drugs in Peters’s car in an attempt to get her arrested. Still, he argued that “the fact that something really bad was done to a person does not give them a winning Powerball number.”
Jill Easter, who now goes by Ava Everheart, did not testify.
“They are both highly educated attorneys,” Peters’s attorney, Rob Marcereau, told ABC. “Went to top schools. They should know better. They believe they’re above the law — that they can do anything to anyone.”
On Friday, an Orange County Superior Court jury determined that the Easters had acted with malice, oppression or fraud in their actions against Peters, awarding her $5.7 million in damages. Neither Kent nor Jill, who were divorced recently, commented after the verdict.
“This was really not about money,” Peters told the Orange County Register, wiping away tears. “This was about standing up to people that pick on other people and telling them it’s not okay to do this. I feel like justice has been served.”
Peters told the Register that the couple has never expressed any remorse.
“I think saying sorry goes a long way,” she said. “It would have gone a long way with me in the beginning. I wouldn’t have gone this far had they said they were sorry.”
*** it is worthy to note the following: Section 6102 (c) of the Business and Professions Code provides for summary disbarment in cases of felonies involving moral turpitude or an element of which is the specific intent to deceive, defraud, steal, or make or suborn a false statement.
It turns out only Jill Easter ne Ava Everheart was disbarred. Kent claimed his wife wore the pants and made him do the crime. . He apparently testified against his wife. His license was suspended, but he was not disbarred at this point.*****
And we have this -
In a scathing ruling issued Friday, a state judge in Lubbock declared that prominent Dallas trial lawyer Bill Brewer committed misconduct when he used so-called push polling to improperly influence potential jurors in a West Texas wrongful death and products liability case.
State District Judge Ruben Reyes described Brewer’s conduct as “unprofessional” and “unethical” — findings that Brewer adamantly denies — and ordered the hard-charging trial lawyer to pay more than $133,000 in sanctions and take 10 hours of legal ethics courses.
Reyes found that Brewer and his law firm conducted a push poll with questions and statements “designed to influence or alter the opinion or attitude of the person being polled.”
What that is tantamount to is tampering with the Jury pool before they even dive in. By implanting the idea and gauging community senitment about the issue it helps their case. Imagine polling in Ferguson during the Michael Brown case asking people to describe sinister young people in their community who may or may not be black and how they respond to that.
That type of behavior or bullshit depending on your view of Attorneys is why we have this problem with regards to civil tort laws and the move toward arbitration. Dirty tricks by Lawyers on both sides to generate pity, manipulate facts lead to confusion and more importantly awards that while businesses appeal, deduct from taxes and plaintiffs see little of and Lawyers get plenty of is the real reason we are finding our ability to seek justice and truth more elusive.
Here is a sanction regarding filings.. in German. And in 2014, 43 Judges in California were cited for misconduct. Or the Judges and their affairs that were not necessarily orders of the court.
And their are dozens more. This is America and we have a Judicial system that defines misconduct.