Thursday, January 6, 2011

From Harpers

In Texas, 41 Exonerations from DNA Evidence in 9 Years

By Scott Horton

In a Dallas courtroom yesterday Cornelius Dupree, who had spent thirty years in prison on a conviction for rape, robbery, and abduction, was told that he had been exonerated. DNA evidence had shown unequivocally that he was not the man who had committed the crime in question. The judgment came too late for Dupree, who had already served his full sentence; the court was merely terminating his parole status. The Dallas Morning News reports:

With 21 DNA exonerations in Dallas County—more than any county in the nation since 2001—it was believed there were few wrongly incarcerated people left who could be cleared by DNA evidence. Authorities thought that evidence with DNA had only been preserved by the county’s lab since 1981.

But the county’s crime lab discovered DNA to test in pubic hair cuttings of the rape victim while searching for evidence in the Dupree case at the request of the district attorney’s office. Previously, those who worked on DNA exoneration cases believed there would be no DNA to test because swabs that would have collected DNA with rape kits were not preserved at the time.

The Dallas County district attorney’s office says it will now examine two new groups of cases: those that were previously discounted because they were so old that no testable evidence was believed to exist, and more recent cases that the office had already reviewed and rejected as potential exonerations because prosecutors thought no testable evidence existed.

[MORE . . .]


Stickup Artist said...

"Some prosecutors argue that the reputation of the criminal justice system and our interest in keeping costs down require a policy that avoids looking back. They say that once a defendant has had his pass through the system, flawed though it may be, he has gotten all the law promises."

I guess that's all well and fine until you or yours ends up wrongly accused. How can anyone be so callous? It defies reason.

I saw a Netflix movie titled Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman, a British film about the life of British executioner Albert Pierrepoint. He was quoted at the end as saying the death penalty is in all cases and without exception about revenge. Not to say I wouldn't want revenge myself if some crazy predatory beast unleashed itself on me or anyone I loved. But I do not believe it deters the violent criminal and maybe the price of revenge is higher than we realize.

mythopolis said...

The history of those wrongfully imprisoned or wrongfully executed is a long dark one. And, it continues.....