State Bar accuses district attorney and prosecutor of misconduct

Fort Bend Co. D.A. accused of misconduct.

Richmond, TX – The Fort Bend County district attorney and his chief drug prosecutor are accused of professional misconduct, according to court filings by the State Bar of Texas' Commission for Lawyer Discipline.

The allegations center on a 2006 drug case.

Jacob Estrada was arrested and plead guilty to possession of PCP and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

But in 2012, the Texas Department of Public Safety discovered errors in the work of a forensic scientist who tested evidence in Estrada's case.

That raised questions about all the cases the scientist worked on.

The State Bar says the Fort Bend County District Attorney's Office was made aware of potential problems with Estrada's case in April, 2012.

Despite that, in July, 2012, investigators say District Attorney John Healey and Chief Prosecutor Mark Hanna allowed evidence in Estrada's case to be destroyed, making retesting it impossible.

The State bar accuses Healey and Hanna of not notifying Estrada of problems that could affect his case until March, 2013.

Estrada sat in prison until June, 2014 when an appeals court threw out his conviction.

Both Healey and Hanna refused requests for an on-camera interview.

But in a statement to the KHOU 11 News I-Team, Healey said, "I look forward to a full airing of the matter and in the end, I expect there will be vindication for the district attorney's office and myself."

Taxpayers will cover expenses related to defending Healey and Hanna in the case.

Healey blamed the allegations on "individuals with an agenda" but would not elaborate except to say those individuals are not connected to the State Bar of Texas.

If a judge finds the prosecutors committed misconduct they face a range of penalties up to and including disbarment.

A spokesperson for the State Bar of Texas says the filing of disciplinary petitions against a sitting district attorney and prosecutor are rare.


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