​Charles Sebesta Disbarred: State Bar Disbarment Reinstated Against District Attorney

Charles Sebesta Disbarred
Author: Kara GilmourBy:
Staff Reporter
Feb. 11, 2016

Charles Sebesta to remain disbarred following a decision of the State Bar of Texas. Sebesta is a former prosecutor who used false testimony and withheld evidence to send a now-exonerated man to Texas’ death row, according to New York Daily News.

The Board of Disciplinary Appeals on Monday upheld the decision of the State Bar of Texas to disbar Sebesta. The board’s decision is final for Charles.

Charles Sebesta disbarred by State Bar of Texas

Charles Sebesta disbarred by State Bar of Texas

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 convicted and sent to Texas death row for the 1992 slayings of six people.

Before Charles Sebesta was disbarred, a federal appeals court reversed Graves’ conviction in 2010. He was released from prison four years later, after serving a dozen years on death row, when a special prosecutor determined he should be freed and declared innocent.

“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,” Graves said at the time of Sebesta’s initial disbarment. “But the panel did just that, and I appreciate it.

“I have waited 20-plus years for complete justice and freedom. … 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.”

Graves filed a complaint against Sebesta in January 2014, asking the bar to hold the prosecutor accountable for withholding critical evidence. The State Bar of Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals called Charles’ conduct in the Graves case “egregious.”

The Bar ruled in 2007 that there wasn’t any cause to disbar Sebesta in the case, and his lawyers argued last month that the agency couldn’t change its response to a new complaint Graves filed.

But a lawyer for the board said anyone who has been wrongfully convicted has up to four years after their release to seek discipline against prosecutors who elicit false testimony or withhold evidence, under a 2013 law.

“The bar stepped in to say that’s not the way our criminal justice system should work,” Graves said. “This is a good day for justice.”

Anthony Graves

Sebesta also lied about one of the defense attorney’s alibi witnesses. Charles said the witness was a murder suspect and could be indicted, which was not true, but the witness refused to testify.

In 2011, Texas’s governor, Rick Perry, signed a law to give Graves $1.4m for the wrongful imprisonment. Charles Sebesta left office in 2000 after 25 years as prosecutor in the two counties about 100 miles northwest of Houston.

Charles Sebesta was disbarred because the Texas state bar because he had engaged in prosecutorial misconduct in the case. Sebesta appealed against the ruling but the Monday decision finalizes his disbarment.

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