Former Oklahoma County prosecutor Brad Miller has been suspended from practicing law for 180 days for “reprehensible” misconduct in a 1993 murder case.
Miller, 52, also must pay $12,834.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court reviewed Miller's actions after a federal appeals court in 2009 overturned the convictions of two gang members.
Miller, now a successful civil attorney, has denied any wrongdoing.
The Supreme Court imposed the discipline in a 5-2 decision Tuesday.
“Make no mistake, if this conduct were to happen today, the punishment would have been much more severe,” Justice Yvonne Kauger wrote for the majority.
Two justices wanted Miller disbarred.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Steven Taylor wrote: “Whether it was ‘decades ago' or today, no attorney should ever commit the ‘reprehensible' conduct in death penalty (or any other) litigation as detailed in the majority opinion. … The actions of the respondent take us into the dark, unseen, ugly, shocking nightmare vision of a prosecutor who loves victory more than he loves justice.”
The two gang members, Yancy L. Douglas and Paris Lapriest Powell, were on death row for years after being convicted at separate trials in the fatal drive-by shooting of a 14-year-old girl, Shauna Farrow.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned their convictions because of Miller's “egregious” conduct. The federal appeals court condemned the prosecutor for his “knowing use of false testimony” from the only eyewitness.
The eyewitness, Derrick Smith, identified the two men as the shooters but later said he was too drunk and high to identify anyone. The two men were freed in October 2009 when new prosecutors opted not to retry them because of Smith's conflicting versions of the shooting.
Prosecutors believe Smith, who is in a rival gang, was the target of the drive-by attack. He was shot in the hip.
The Oklahoma Bar Association alleged Miller knew the eyewitness was unreliable but had him testify anyway and tailored and bolstered his account.
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