Over 20 years ago, Erma Wilson was wrongfully convicted of drug possession by a prosecutor for Midland County, Texas who worked as a prosecutor by day and as a law clerk by night for the very same judges he argued before. Midland’s entire judicial system up to the highest levels was aware of and enabled this clear conflict of interest that eviscerated the line between prosecutor and judge. Being able to play judge and jury gave the prosecutor the ability to surreptitiously shape judicial thinking, draft rulings in his favor, gain access to confidential defense materials, and earn over $250,000 in the process.
Since she was nine years old, Erma dreamt of becoming a registered nurse. But because Texas will not grant registered nursing licenses to people convicted of drug-related offenses, Erma was never able to realize her dream.
The Institute for Justice filed suit on behalf of Erma Wilson to vindicate her constitutional right to due process and to hold the government and its officials responsible for their actions so something like this never happens to anyone else.
Former Texas Prosecutor Worked as a Law Clerk in His Own Cases, Giving the Government an Unfair Advantage Over Those He Prosecuted
Everybody knows your prosecutor can’t also be your judge. Everyone, that is, except for former Midland County, Texas, prosecutor Ralph Petty, his supervisor, and the county’s entire system of justice. Petty spent 20 years moonlighting…