Meet Your Winner

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Williamson County, Texas, District Attorney John Bradley is the winner of our 2011 Worst Prosecutor of the Year award. It was a tight four-way race for the first day. North Carolina DA Tracey Cline then broke open a small lead on day two, before Bradley closed on the final day of voting.

A few updates on Bradley: On January 4, UPI reported that the Texas State Bar cleared Bradley of any ethics violations for spending 20 years fighting the DNA test that kept Michael Morton in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. This isn’t terribly surprising. State bars are notoriously lax at disciplining misbehaving prosecutors.

In this November New York Times profile that I didn’t catch when researching Bradley to nominate him, Bradley actually shows some contrition, going so far as to say the DNA results in the Morton case—which, again, he fought like to prevent from ever happening—have changed him. I hope that’s the case, but I’m inclined to think that after the Morton case, after having once advised another prosecutor to seek plea agreements that allow evidence to be destroyed so it can’t be tested in the future on an innocence claim, and after doing all he could to bury any investigation into the Cameron Todd Willingham case, Bradley’s period of penance should probably last more than a few months.

Nevertheless, even after all of that, last year Bradley was still elected to the board of directors (PDF) of the National District Attorneys Association. (Nominee Anita Alvarez is also on the board.) I don’t know if his election was the result of obliviousness to the controversy surrounding Bradley or a way of symbolically defying Bradley’s detractors. Either way, it really doesn’t speak well of the organization’s membership. Or at least of its voting membership.

Bradley is up for reelection for his current DA position. His critics have adopted an amusing way to protest his candidacy: They’re hanging bandannas from Bradley’s campaign sings. The DNA that eventually cleared Michael Morton was taken from a bandanna left at the crime scene.

A few updates from the other 2011 nominees:

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15 Responses to “Meet Your Winner”

  1. #1 |  bren | 

    Alvarez is also on the board of the National District Attorney’s Association? The NDAA is like the Legion of Doom if taxpayers bought them pants.

  2. #2 |  treed | 

    This is BS. From now on, I want results certified by PriceWaterhouse. This award was stolen from Ms. Tracey Cline. STOLEN, damn it. In addition to her otherwise stellar record, it would appear to some that Ms. Cline is crazy. Now how does crazy not win?

  3. #3 |  Wilco Voter | 

    If you think this jack ass Bradley has changed one bit, you are are silly as his kool aid drinking buddies in Wilco.

    Congrats John! I knew you could do it! You see how we all banded together with a grass roots effort here? Wait till you see us in action in the real thing come election day. You’re days as DA are numbered Marty.

  4. #4 |  (B)oscoH | 

    Remember, although the award is given for a year, it is effectively a lifetime achievement award. 20 years performing a real-life interpretation of Moby Dick within the Texas criminal justice system is quite worthy of the award.

  5. #5 |  BamBam | 

    Ladies and gentlemen, one of the many faces of evil. Every nominee should have their evil faces plastered everywhere, and their deeds listed. Ostricizing them is one antidote, but it’s not a cure for their evil.

  6. #6 |  picachu | 

    I hope there’s a hell. It couldn’t be hot enough for these guys.

  7. #7 |  Stephen | 

    Heh… this was my vote. It looked like he was falling behind at first but I guess that whole “destroy the evidence” thing finally got him in the lead. Anybody that can even think that way deserves to burn in hell for eternity.

  8. #8 |  Jeffrey Hall | 

    Who pays the dues for National District Attorneys Association? Is it the members, or do taxpayers typically pay the member dues?

  9. #9 |  Whim | 

    Williamson County, Texas, District Attorney John Bradley is the winner of the 2011 Worst Prosecutor of the Year award, and also receives a concurrent nomination as the Worst Human Being in America (tied with former Pedophile State University Asst. Coach and Pedophile Ring “Trainer” Jerry Sandusky).

    Mr. Bradley vociferously defended the status quo, and stonewalled any DNA testing of the suspect “bandana” for five long years, extending the sentence in the Texas Gulag of Michael Morton from 20 years to 25 long, long years.

    Bradley helped engineer a cover-up and suppression of exculpatory evidence for his former DA boss former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson – now a Texas state district judge, for as long as humanly possible against the the valiant and noble forces of Barry Scheck and the Texas Innocence Project.

    John Bradley wins both awards —- hands down.

  10. #10 |  Joe | 

    It’s one thing to make a mistake but hiding or trying to conceal evidence to protect a conviction and keep an innocent person in prison is @#$%#$ BS. How dare NDAA have him on the BOD, but I guess that says a lot about the organization. Go F$%$#@ yourself!!

  11. #11 |  Peggy | 

    What a difference a year makes. Didn’t Bradley get the “Prosecutor of the Year Award in 2009?”

  12. #12 |  croaker | 

    Sounds like we could make a brand new “Asshole” filmstrip just from this year’s nominees. I’ll see what I can do.

  13. #13 |  Chris Kline | 

    This is a priceless video about Bradley. Hats off to who ever did this!

  14. #14 |  John Bradley named ’2011 Worst Prosecutor of the Year’ | Phoenix DUI Abogados | 

    […] DA John Bradley edged out an extremely competitive national field to win Radley Balko’s 2011 Worst Prosectuor of the Year Award based on a reader poll. As one of Radley’s Agitatortots commented, “although the award […]

  15. #15 |  Mayhem&Madness | 

    Bradley spent 20 years covering for his buddy Anderson. What’s Anderson going to do for him now?