In a late on Friday announcement, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg says that new evidence shows that former Harris County prosecutor Dan Rizzo knew about the existence of phone records that would corroborate Alfred DeWayne Brown's alibi, but failed to provide them to defense counsel or the jury.
Brown, who was convicted in 2005 of the murders of a Houston police officer and a store clerk during a robbery, and who spent nearly ten years on death row before being released, has filed a civil suit against the Harris County DA's office. In 2014, when his conviction was being challenged, "the prosecution and defense agreed the failure to disclose the phone records was 'inadvertent,'” according to a press release from Ogg's office.
Apparently that was not the case.
As an April 22, 2003 email between Rizzo and former Houston Police Department Officer Breck McDaniel makes clear, the officer passed on specific information to Rizzo about telephone records that the defense and the jury never knew about.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Brown should be freed in 2015. Then Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson dismissed the case, saying she didn't have enough evidence for a new trial.
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The statement from Ogg:
"The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct require that “the appropriate disciplinary authority” shall be informed when a lawyer becomes aware that another lawyer has “committed a violation of applicable rules of professional conduct that raises a substantial question as to the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in all other respects.
Accordingly, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office will notify the State Bar of Texas of the newly discovered evidence so that it may investigate the prosecutor’s professional conduct while handling the Brown case."
Here's the email sent in 2003.