On behalf of Maynard & Sumner, LLC posted in Sex Crimes on Friday, August 1, 2014.
It took many years, but a Texas man wrongfully convicted of rape has been vindicated and with no action on his own part. A judge recommended that the Dallas man be exonerated of all charges after DNA testing proved he did not commit the crime. Unfortunately, the proof came too late to save the defendant from serving 12 long years behind bars.
The New Jersey Herald reports that this was a history-making event because neither the convicted man nor his attorneys requested the DNA testing. Instead, the man’s innocence was revealed by way of systematic DNA testing and screening conducted by the Conviction Integrity Unit. Helmed by Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, the unit systematically reviews previously untested rape kits whether or not the defendant has requested the testing.
While Watkins has already helped exonerate 33 other wrongfully convicted men, this is the first time ever that a prosecutor’s office initiated the testing instead of a defendant or representatives of a defendant. Reportedly, close to a dozen men who have already been exonerated with help from Watkins were on location to greet the defendant after the judge pronounced him innocent last week.
The question of the wrongfully convicted man’s legal exoneration will be put forth in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, but it is unclear when this will happen. Hopefully, the wait won’t be too long as the newly cleared man is ill with Sickle Cell Anemia and currently lives in a nursing home.
Since Craig Watkins started the Conviction Integrity Unit, several other prosecutors across America have created similar projects to review potential wrongful convictions. This is good news as many of those facing serious charges have a perhaps unfounded distrust of prosecutors. This case shows the public how two seemingly opposing sides can come together to make great things happen for those accused of sex crimes and other felonies, even here in New Jersey.
Source: New Jersey Herald, “Judge says Texas man innocent in rape” Jul. 25, 2014