Here is a brief summary of Ken's background and qualifications to become the next Williamson County District Attorney:
Ken is honored to have been endorsed by the Williamson County Sun newspaper on October 21. Click here to read why Linda Scarbrough and Clark Thurmond, the publishers of the Sun, recommend that voters choose Ken Crain to become the next Williamson County District Attorney.
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Question: Why should Williamson County voters choose Ken Crain over Jana Duty to be the next District Attorney for Williamson County?
Answer: (Reason Number One) An innocent Michael Morton spent nearly 25 years in Texas prisons after being falsely convicted of murdering his wife. By representing DA John Bradley in federal court, Jana Duty and her office worked to keep Michael Morton in Texas prison rather than try to persuade incumbent DA John Bradley to agree to DNA testing that ultimately showed Michael Morton did not murder his wife. link to Williamson County Sun newspaper article dated January 29, 2012, that shows that Jana Duty fought against DNA testing and worked to keep Michael Morton in prison.
link to complete transcript of federal court hearing in Austin on December 30, 2008, wherein Jana Duty's civil litigation chief attorney argues against DNA testing that eventually freed Michael Morton
The documents in these two above links conclusively show that Jana Duty and her office fought against DNA testing in the Michael Morton case UNTIL THE DNA TEST RESULTS WERE KNOWN AND THE DNA TEST RESULTS SHOWED THAT MICHAEL MORTON HAD BEEN FALSELY CONVICTED OF THE CRIME OF MURDERING HIS WIFE.
Jana Duty is shameless and opportunistic. After working FOR John Bradley on the federal case to fight against the DNA testing which eventually led to Michael Morton's release from prison on October 4, 2011, Jana Duty personally approached Michael Morton in a Georgetown courtroom last December to ask him if he would endorse her in the Republican primary against John Bradley. Mr. Morton informed her that he was not going to endorse anyone in the race.
Jana Duty's loyalty is mainly to herself and her own interests. She worked for former County Attorney Gene Taylor and then later ran against him in 2004. She had zero loyalty to her former boss who had given her a job when she needed one after moving to Williamson County.
Jana Duty was John Bradley's attorney in federal court in the Michael Morton case. After fighting against the DNA testing alongside Bradley, when the DNA results were known she turned on her former client and ran against Bradley in the 2012 Republican primary for the DA's job. Her main line of attack against Bradley was his decision to fight against the DNA testing in the Morton case, the very same decision that she defended in federal court. Can you think of any similar cases where an attorney has turned on his/her client so publicly like this? Should any lawyer be rewarded for this unethical behavior???
Answer: (Reason Number Two) Ken Crain will try to keep the experienced and talented team of prosecutors and staff at the Williamson County DA's office. If elected, Ken will ensure that any overzealous prosecution mindset is replaced by a "smart on crime" attitude that better serves Williamson County. Jana Duty has shown by her past actions that she is more interested in staff that is loyal to Jana Duty than staff that competently serves the interests of Williamson County citizens. As County Attorney since 2005, she has fired or run off several very competent and experienced attorneys who worked in her office (including Wayne Porter, Dale Rye, Joseph Leonard, Brandy Byrd Hallford, Matt Shanks) with many combined total years of dedicated service.
Answer: (Reason Number Three) Jana Duty has been publicly reprimanded for unethical behavior by the State Bar of Texas. After many squabbles with the Commissioners Court, Jana Duty was fired by the Williamson County Commissioners Court as their attorney and replaced by an attorney who they trusted. She is the only County Attorney in Texas to be permanently fired as the lawyer for the local Commissioners Court.
[Note to Williamson County Republicans and Democrats alike: In choosing the next district attorney, you are hiring an attorney to represent you in the Williamson County courts to prosecute adult felonies. If the Williamson County Commissioners Court (whose five members are all Republicans like Jana Duty) does not trust Jana Duty to be their attorney, why should you trust her to be your attorney?]
Here is a link to an Austin American Statesman story dated October 31, 2011, that discusses the Texas State Bar charges against Jana Duty:
Here is a link to another Austin American story dated November 23, 2011, that discusses the plea bargain that Jana Duty reached with the State Bar of Texas wherein she received a public reprimand from the State Bar of Texas for revealing confidential information that she learned from her client in an executive session of the Williamson County Commissioners Court:
Here is a link to the State Bar of Texas web page that shows the public reprimand that Jana Duty earned last November for her unethical behavior. Note that she uses her married name Jana L. Hunsicker for State Bar purposes. It is not hard to figure out why someone in politics would want to have negative information about themselves (like a public reprimand) hidden under a different name than the one they use in their political life:
Answer: (Reason Number Four) Jana Duty has exhibited a high degree of immaturity while holding the office of Williamson County Attorney. She refused to communicate with the Williamson County Sun newspaper for a while during the recent Republican primary because the Sun wrote some stories about the primary campaign against John Bradley that she did not like. She sent them an email that she was not going to talk to the Sun until they gave her better press. Is that any way for a public official to behave?
In the past month, Jana Duty refused to make herself available to a reporter from Impact newspaper for an in person interview for a story about the Williamson County District Attorney race. She would only agree to respond to written questions from the Impact reporter that were submitted to her by email. (This fact was stated in the Impact newspaper along with the questions and answers from the candidates.)
During October, 2012, when reporters for the Austin American Statesman, the Round Rock Leader, the Williamson County Sun, and the Taylor Daily Press tried to arrange for interviews with Jana Duty, she told them all to submit written questions to her via email and she would respond to them by email. Apparently Jana Duty is afraid to face the press and answer questions about her past conduct while she has been County Attorney and her qualifications for becoming District Attorney.
On the other hand, Ken Crain has made himself available to all of these newspapers and more for in person interviews and numerous telephone conversations about the District Attorney race. If you are running for local office, you should make yourself reasonably available to the local press so that the public can learn about you and your qualifications for office.
Answer: (Reason Number Five) Jana Duty frequently mentions that she is fighting against the "good old boys" and a system dominated by the good old boys. Can she even name the good old boys or tell us exactly who she is talking about? The truth is, anyone that she disagrees with or does not get along with is part of the "good old boy" crowd (as far as Jana Duty is concerned). Are we still in junior high school or what?
Is Jana Duty's constant harping about the "good old boys" a subtle way to gain support among women voters by implying that her political opponents dislike her because of her gender? There is a major problem with that logic because Williamson County has plenty of competent female office holders who seem to get along well with other local office holders.
A few of these local female office holders are Tax Assessor/Collector Deborah Hunt, District Clerk Lisa David, County Clerk Nancy Rister, Justice of the Peace Judy Hobbs, Justice of the Peace Edna Staudt, County Commissioners Lisa Birkman, Valerie Covey, and Cynthia Long, County Court at Law Judge Suzanne Brooks, County Treasurer Vivian Wood, and soon to be District Judge Betsy Lambeth, who does not have an opponent in the November election. Marsha Farney is also a local Republican woman who is currently serving on the State Board of Education. Marsha Farney is running unopposed in the November election to become the next state representative for State District 20 in Williamson County.
Obviously, Jana Duty's troubles with others is not because of her gender, it is because of her combative attitude and inability to cooperate with others to serve the public good.
Answer: (Reason Number Six) One of the worst kept secrets in the justice center in Georgetown is that Jana Duty has at least two people on her staff who perform political and campaign work during normal working hours while they are being paid by Williamson County taxpayers. Vicki Vickers is Jana's administrative assistant and she is very active in local Republican politics. Vicki frequently attends campaign and political events with Jana during normal working hours. Royger Harris is an investigator who works for Jana Duty in the County Attorney's office. He is the self appointed "Wilcowatchdog," which is a highly partisan political website, and he works on this political website during normal working hours. As recently as last November, his official duties were described as "Special Projects" on the official County Attorney website. (Other investigators on her staff are assigned to the various county courts at law, while Royger Harris works on "special projects.") He is a political activist on the county payroll working full time for Jana Duty.
Answer: (Reason Number Seven) In a June 1, 2008, letter that she never intended to be seen by the public, County Attorney Jana Duty warned the county court at law judges that she was going to reassign experienced prosecutors to other duties and reduce her priority on criminal prosecutions in their courts because she and the judges got into a disagreement.
link to text of the letter
In other words, public safety was going to receive a reduced priority as a way for Jana Duty to retaliate against the judges and slow down the smooth flow of misdemeanor criminal cases in the Williamson County county courts at law. If she would do this as a misdemeanor prosecutor, why would anyone want to promote her to be the chief felony prosecutor in Williamson County? The sad truth is that Jana Duty is constantly at war with somebody else in county government. This benefits no one in Williamson County.
Answer: (Reason Number Eight) As part of the bizarre events in June, 2008, Jana Duty fired and then rehired attorney Stephen Ackley, the head of her civil litigation division. The firing and rehiring all took place in one week. These events highlight Jana's serious problems in personnel management. link to text of Austin American Statesman stories describing this bizarre firing and rehiring event
Question: Jana Duty has been "endorsed" by many local law enforcement groups. Why shouldn't Williamson County voters trust these endorsements?
Answer: Almost all of these endorsements by local law enforcement groups are phony endorsements because only a very small percentage of the membership of the groups participated in the decision making before the endorsements were made because only a small percentage of the membership typically shows up at regular meetings, only one of the groups (Round Rock) invited all the DA candidates to address their groups before they made the endorsements, and none of the local law enforcement groups submitted a written list of questions to all the DA candidates before they made the endorsements. If the endorsements were done in a thorough business like manner, they would carry some weight. As it is, they are phony endorsements that are simply meant to mislead the voting public.
When as few as four or five members are making endorsement decisions and then advertising this as a decision that represents the consensus of the entire group of forty, fifty, sixty, or more people who did not participate at all, then it is a sham endorsement done entirely to benefit one candidate and not done to inform the voting public.
Royger Harris has tried to spin these comments above into some sort of disparaging diatribe against the rank and file of law enforcement in Williamson County. Far from it. Ken Crain has the utmost respect for the vast majority of men and women who work in law enforcement in Williamson County. He does not respect the few officers who attempt to manipulate the public by participating in a phony endorsement process that (1) involves a very small percentage of the officers, (2) does not submit written questions to ALL the candidates and/or does not invite ALL the candidates to come to a meeting to talk about the issues, and (3) does not disclose to the public just how phony and one sided the endorsement process is so as to hoodwink, mislead, and misinform the voting public. The way these endorsements are presently conducted only serves to confuse, mislead, and misinform the voting public.
Look at it this way. If you were looking to buy a new pickup truck, wouldn't you go to a publication like Consumer Reports that looks at ALL the pickup trucks on the market and tells you about the pluses and minuses of ALL of the available pickup trucks in some detail? Or would you rely on a publication that only looked at one pickup truck and then told you to buy that pickup truck? And isn't selecting a new district attorney for Williamson County at least as important as selecting a new pickup truck???
Question: Jana Duty is currently the Williamson County Attorney. Among other things, she and her office are responsible for prosecuting men and women who assault their family members and she is responsible for helping men and women get protective orders when needed.
Why in the world would she keep a man like her investigator Royger Harris on her staff and on the county payroll, when he used to (according to a Protective Order Affidavit sworn to by his ex-wife) assault her on a regular basis, assaulted her even when she was ten weeks pregnant with their child, used to threaten to shoot her, fired a bullet into a mattress in their bedroom during an argument, slapped her on the face while she held their baby, and used to kick the family dog in anger and frustration??? Why would Jana Duty keep a man like this on the county payroll???
Answer: I have no good answer to that question because I do not think there is a good answer to that question. Here is a link to the referenced protective order affidavit.
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"For the past few decades, Williamson County has had a reputation for being tough on crime, when compared to other counties in Texas. I think we can do better than that. We should be SMART on crime -- tough on criminal defendants when we need to be, but always keeping in mind that every crime has its own facts and every person accused of committing a crime has his/her own unique background. Not everyone who commits a felony in our county is a hardened criminal...
We should not treat first time offenders the same way we treat hardened criminals... Many first time offenders are our neighbors, our employees, our co-workers, our children, our grandchildren, and our nieces and nephews. If we can deal with their errant ways without ruining their lives by branding them as felons forever, then we should do so.
We should be tough on crime without being light on justice. We need to make sure that people who commit serious offenses are dealt with appropriately. There are definitely some criminal defendants who need to be locked up for a long time to protect the rest or us from their criminal behavior.
Here is a link to a recent Austin American Statesman editorial that discusses how prison alternatives have proved tough on crime:
We should use creative ways to deal with non-violent criminal defendants who can be rehabilitated. Public safety will remain the primary goal. I will push for:
(1) a work release program for the Williamson County Jail so that prosecutors have the option of recommending Jail time for criminal defendants who are employed without forcing the defendants to lose their jobs and their ability to support their dependents,
(2) a boot camp program for those criminal defendants who need to learn more personal responsibility and discipline,
(3) more use of community service programs for jail inmates and for criminal defendants who are out of jail so that more people who do harm to the community will give back to the community by doing more community service,
(4) a felony pretrial diversion program for the appropriate non-violent first-time defendants,
(5) creation of a Veterans' Court in Williamson County for those military veterans who have been diagnosed with brain injury or mental illness that occurred because they were in a war zone. Veterans' Courts are authorized under Texas law, but Williamson County does not have one yet.
Here is how a Veterans' Court works: After a military veteran meets strict criteria, then the prosecutor must agree, on a case by case basis, to allow a particular military veteran to go into this court. Then the prosecutor and defense attorney create a treatment plan.
If the veteran completes the treatment plan and the prosecutor agrees they have been rehabilitated, there is no conviction and their record may be expunged (wiped clean). If not, then they will be required to go back through the justice system just like anyone else accused of a crime. As a Naval Academy graduate and as a military veteran myself, I believe that military veterans are deserving of this special program because of their prior service to our county. I would take any veteran's service to our country into account when deciding how to deal with a felony case that involved a military veteran.
To give you more of an idea what Veterans' Courts are all about, here is a link to a 60 Minutes story about a veterans' court in Houston, Texas. This story first aired on 60 Minutes on Sunday, October 14, 2012:
It should not matter if you are a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, a liberal, a moderate, a conservative, or completely apolitical: Absolutely everyone in Williamson County should be able to rely on the local justice system, at a minimum, to ensure that they will get a fair trial if they are ever charged with a criminal offense.
The Michael Morton case has exposed some real shortcomings in the local criminal justice system. We learned in 2011 that Michael Morton spent almost 25 years in Texas state prisons after being wrongfully prosecuted and convicted in a 1987 jury trial for murdering his wife, Christine. The Michael Morton case has been extremely well covered in the local, state, and national media. It has given the local justice system a black eye and brought some very negative attention to Williamson County and our justice system. Investigations continue so that we may learn exactly what went wrong with the prosecution of a completely innocent man. We must see to it that it can never happen again.
The Morton case has all the elements of a John Grisham novel, but if it were just a novel or a Hollywood movie it would probably not be credible to most people. An innocent man's life was destroyed while he sat in prison for almost 25 years while the real killer remained free and probably killed again.
Christine Morton was murdered in this county in August 1986; her husband Michael Morton went to prison for almost 25 years and their son Eric grew up believing that his father killed his mother. The State of Texas spent approximately $25,000-$30,000 a year for 25 years to wrongfully imprison Michael Morton and now the taxpayers of Williamson County and the State of Texas have compensated Michael to the tune of two million dollars ($80,000 per year for the time he was imprisoned) as well as pay him a sizable annuity for the rest of his life. I believe that Michael Morton deserves to be financially compensated, but of course this whole mess should never have happened and the people who did this should be held accountable.
It is hard to imagine how a criminal justice system could possible manage to screw up a serious felony case any worse.
At a February 10, 2012, hearing, visiting Judge Side Harle ordered that a Court of Inquiry be established to look into this mess. Here is a link to a Texas Tribune story that discusses the Morton case and the February 10 hearing:
Here is a link to a February 16, 2012, Texas Tribune story about the appointment of Fort Worth District Judge Louis Sturns to lead a court of inquiry to investigate allegations of criminal prosecutorial misconduct against former prosecutor (and current district judge) Ken Anderson, who saw to the wrongful murder conviction of Michael Morton in 1987.
At one time, Judge Sturns announced that the Court of Inquiry would begin hearings on September 11, 2012. However, the hearings are now scheduled to begin on Monday, December 10, 2012, in Georgetown. Houston attorney Rusty Hardin has been appointed the special prosecutor for the Court of Inquiry.
Here is a link to a Texas Tribune article about Rusty Hardin, who will be the special prosecutor in the Court of Inquiry:
Here is a link to an October 19, 2012, Austin American Statesman newspaper article about the State Bar of Texas filing an ethics lawsuit against Ken Anderson, who was the district attorney from July, 1985 until he was appointed to his current job as district judge in December, 2001:
Ken Anderson was the DA when Christine Morton was murdered in August, 1986, and was the lead prosecutor during the investigation of the murder and during the jury trial for Michael Morton in February, 1987, when he was falsely convicted of his wife's murder.
The incumbent DA, John Bradley, did not participate in the original prosecution of Michael Morton but he stubbornly kept him in prison for an additional seven years because Mr. Bradley foolishly refused to agree to modern DNA testing of all the evidence collected at the time of the 1986 murder. This was despite the fact that DNA testing had already proved the innocence of 44 men in Texas prisons over the previous ten years in serious felony cases involving circumstantial evidence or faulty eyewitness identification. Bradley's refusal to consent to DNA testing was also despite the fact that the tax payers were not going to be footing the bill for the DNA testing -- the Innocence Project was going to pay for the testing, and did in fact eventually pay for the testing.
Mr. Bradley's refusal to agree to the DNA testing was completely irrational under the circumstances and resulted in an innocent Michael morton staying in a Texas prison for several additonal years and the real killer remaining on the streets to possibly do additional harm for several additional years.
I am running for District Attorney because the problems in the DA's office require the leadership of a reformer, someone who has not been part of the broken system. We should make sure that there are NO MORE MICHAEL MORTON's."
Jana Duty defeated John Bradley in the 2012 Republican primary by emphasizing his participation in the Michael Morton fiasco. She has never come clean with the true extent of her own involvement in the case, however, because she and her office represented John Bradley and the Sheriff in federal litigation in the Morton case. She has maintained that her office only argued that the federal litigation should not proceed until after the third court of appeals in Austin had ruled on the case. The transcript of a federal court hearing in December, 2008, however, shows that Jana Duty and her office had clearly bought the entire John Bradley position that DNA testing of the bloody bandana was pointless, was a waste of time, would prove absolutely nothing, and that the bandana was irreparably tainted by a chain of custody problem. In December, 2008, Jana Duty's office tried to sell that position to U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, who clearly encouraged the prosecution to agree to the testing because he had regularly read of people being freed from Texas prisons after DNA testing showed that they were actually innocent. Jana Duty should admit that she and her office helped keep Michael Morton in prison despite his innocence.
--Ken Crain, Georgetown attorney and candidate for District Attorney
For more information about the Michael Morton case, here is a link to an excellent episode of a PBS show called Overheard with Evan Smith. Michael Morton is interviewed by Evan Smith for about a half hour and Michael tells his incredible story about being railroaded for the murder of his wife in Williamson County:
"Regardless of how the Michael morton case unfolds from this point forward, I would love to see the Williamson County Justice Center in Georgetown, where all of our serious criminal and civil cases are litigated, renamed as the "Christine and Michael Morton Justice Center."
Neither one of the Mortons received appropriate justice in this case. If the building was renamed in honor of the Mortons, we would have a constant reminder of what happens when justice is mismanaged by the people who administer and supervise the local justice system."
--Ken Crain, Georgetown attorney and candidate for District Attorney
TEXT OF PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING RUN FOR DISTRICT ATTORNEY
October 31, 2011
Georgetown attorney Ken Crain announced today that he will seek the Democratic nomination for Williamson County District Attorney.
"The current DA is more interested in convictions than finding the truth. Williamson County residents expect a criminal justice system that is tough on crime, without being light on justice. Michael Morton sat in a Texas prison for a crime he did not commit several years longer than necessary, because the current DA used every legal maneuver at his command to frustrate and delay the public's right to know the truth. In my view," Crain said, "it is completely irrational for a DA to oppose DNA or other scientific testing, applying today's technology to old evidence. If it proves the person in prison is guilty, it confirms that justice has been served. If it shows that an innocent person in imprisoned, that is something that the district attorney should want to know."
"We now know that Michael Morton is a victim of the Williamson County criminal justice system. Let's make sure that this never happens again."
Crain, 57, has practiced law is Williamson County continuously since 1985. He served as assistant county attorney for two years, prosecuting hundreds of misdemeanor criminal cases. Since opening his private law practice in 1986, Crain has defended felony and misdemeanor criminal cases, worked on divorce and other family law cases, drafted wills and handled probate cases.
Crain and wife Micki have been married for 35 years. They have one daughter, Dr. Allyn Crain, a chiropractor with an office in Salado.
Ken Crain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in June 1976, with a B.S. in Marine Engineering. He served on active duty in the U.S. Navy from 1976 until 1981 as a surface warfare officer. He also served in the U.S. Navy Reserves from 1981 to 1987 in Austin, Texas, and left the navy as a lieutenant commander.
Crain graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in May, 1984. He has been licensed to practice law in Texas since November, 1984.
Crain believes that voters are ready for new leadership in our criminal justice system. "I am a Democrat running for District Attorney because the problems in the DA's office will require the leadership of a reformer, someone who hasn't been part of the broken system that has made our streets less safe, sent innocent people to prison and sought to suppress and cover up past prosecutorial misconduct."
"I believe that there is a mature, rational, reasonable way to prosecute criminal defendants and, if appropriate, to make decisions not to prosecute a particular individual," Crain said. "The prosecutor's job is not to rack up as many convictions as possible; it is to see that justice is done."
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Primary elections for the Democratic and Republican parties in Texas were held on Tuesday, May 29, 2012.
Ken Crain ran unopposed in the 2012 Democratic Primary and he is now the Democratic Party nominee for Williamson County District Attorney. The incumbent DA, John Bradley, was challenged in the Republican Primary by Jana Duty, who is the incumbent County Attorney. After spending $9,000 to conduct a poll of potential Republican primary voters to find out if she should be outraged over the way an innocent Michael Morton was treated by John Bradley's decision to fight DNA testing in the case, Jana Duty decided to challenge John Bradley rather than seek re-election to the County Attorney position. (A couple of candidates had already announced they were going to challenge Jana Duty in the Republican party primary due to the many problems they had with the way she had conducted herself in that office over the past few years. Most observers believe she would have had a tough time winning re-election as County Attorney.) John Bradley was defeated in the Republican primary on May 29. Ken will face Jana Duty in the general election in November to decide who will become the Williamson County District Attorney starting on January 1, 2013.
The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Early voting will start on Monday, October 22, at numerous locations throughout Williamson County. Click on the "Election Information" tab at the top of this page for additional information about early voting and voting on November 6.
Political Ad Paid For by Ken Crain for District Attorney, PO Box 956, Georgetown, TX 78627-0956, John Duer, Attorney at Law, Treasurer