Statement of Anthony Graves
Statement of Anthony Graves Regarding the State Bar’s Ruling that Charles Sebesta Should be Disbarred for Violating Ethical Rules
I will always be grateful that the State Bar of Texas recognized that my grievance against that prosecutor had merit. Probably what affected me most in these proceedings is that lawyers for the State Bar of Texas were actually arguing on my behalf. I felt like Texas was committed to making this right. I am so appreciative of the hard work Beth Stevens and Laura Popps put in to prosecute the case against Mr. Sebesta, and great respect they showed to me and to my family.
I am very thankful for the grievance panel’s full attention to the trial. This was an important matter, and it takes great courage to say a prosecutor was so clearly acting against the rules of fair play that he should be stripped of his law license. But the panel did just that, and I appreciate it. It was the right thing to do, but we should always remember how much more work we have ahead to make our system fair for all.
What happened to me could happen to anyone, because I was completely innocent of the terrible charges brought against me by Charles Sebesta.
I was 26 years old when I was arrested and charged with capital murder. I spent 12 and ½ years of my life on death row, and faced two execution dates. All together, I was in jail for 18 and ½ years for a crime I did not commit. It was a long time coming, but in 2006 the 5th Circuit finally agreed that my trial had been unfair, because of the things Charles Sebesta said and did in that courtroom—hiding evidence, misleading the jury, and causing witnesses to testify to things he knew were false. He corrupted the search for truth. And in __, after an honest prosecutor by the name of Kelly Siegler looked into my case, she said I should never have been prosecuted in the first place, and the State of Texas declared me innocent.
I have waited 20 plus years for complete justice and freedom. Part of that healing process requires that those at fault acknowledge their responsibility and make amends. Mr. Sebesta has never done that. He has never apologized to me. He has never admitted that he did anything wrong in that courtroom, even after the 5th Circuit proved that he violated the Constitution. And so I thought he ought to lose his license to practice law, and brought my grievance to the State Bar of Texas. No one who makes it a goal to send a man to death row without evidence—and worse, while hiding evidence of my innocence—deserves to be a lawyer in Texas.
I didn’t know if I would ever get my day in court against him. Mr. Sebesta did all he could to halt the grievance against him before it even got started. Then he elected to do his trial in private, even though every single thing he ever did to me was done in public, and with him loudly calling me a guilty man and a murderer.
Today I am blessed to have my health, family and a purpose greater than myself which has allowed me to live freely.