Monday, February 14, 2011

Adding insult to injury

It's not enough that the State of Texas took 18 years away from Anthony Graves for a crime he didn't commit. Now Susan Combs, the state comptroller, has decided Texas will not reimburse Mr. Graves for the years he spent behind bars.

The state calculated that 18 years of Mr. Graves' life was worth about $1.4 million. But then Ms. Combs decided that because the order releasing Mr. Graves didn't state that he was innocent that he wasn't entitled to one red cent.

If you'll recall, Mr. Graves was convicted of capital murder in 1994 but that conviction was overturned by the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006 on the grounds that the prosecutor failed to disclose exculpatory material to the defense and relied on perjured testimony. The state was prepared to retry Mr. Graves in 2010 but the charges were dismissed in October and Mr. Graves was ordered released.

The man responsible for robbing Mr. Graves of his liberty, Charles Sebesta, is still practicing law with very little chance the State Bar will ever disturb him.

The irony is that the current District Attorney for Burleson and Washington Counties, Bill Parham, acknowledged Mr. Graves' innocence when he and Kelly Siegler stood around soaking up praise for (finally) doing the right thing. Apparently that's not enough for Ms. Combs.

Mr. Graves can't go to Governor Goodhair for a pardon because he would have to admit he was guilty -- which we all know he isn't.

So, Bill and Kelly, if you really want to deserve the unearned praise you received, now's the time to do the right thing and petition for Mr. Graves to be compensated for the years he lost.

No comments: