The latest developments in potentially wrongful convictions, public policy and more.
Fort Worth Man Fights for Law to Prevent Wrongful Convictions
A bill to create an exoneration commission to study false convictions is at a standstill in the Texas Legislature. Read the full story here.
Texas House Approves Morton Criminal Justice Bill
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The House has approved the Michael Morton Act, mandating that prosecutors share more case files with defense attorneys in an effort to prevent wrongful convictions.
The measure is named in honor of Morton, an Austin resident who spent nearly 25 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit.
It creates …
DNA Testing Denied, Death Row Inmate Willie Manning Moved to Holding Cell at Miss. Prison
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Attorneys for death row inmate Willie Jerome Manning asked the Mississippi Supreme Court on Monday to stop his execution and allow him to seek post-conviction DNA testing of evidence from the investigation into the slayings of two college students.
Manning and his attorneys also are awaiting a decision from Gov. Phil …
DNA Test Sought in 1987 Murder
NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) — A man who has served 26 years in prison for a 1987 murder in Kentucky will have a hearing to argue for DNA testing on evidence that he thinks will clear him.
Campbell Circuit Judge Fred Stine on Friday scheduled arguments for May 24 in the motion by William “Ricky” Virgil, …
Conn. Supreme Court Taking up Death Penalty Repeal
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether the state’s repeal of the death penalty for future crimes violates the constitutional rights of the 11 men on the state’s death row.
Justices are scheduled to hear the case Tuesday.
The arguments come in the case of former Torrington …
Fla. Lawmakers Look at Speeding Up Death Penalty
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — For Janet Spears, the waiting is the hardest part.
Her only son, Keith, and his girlfriend, Melanie King, were robbed, murdered and set afire in their Wakulla County home in 1997. Two of the three men convicted in the deaths, Jason Looney and Guerry Hertz, have been on death row since …
Legislators Weigh Compensation for Wrongful Convictions
OLYMPIA — Alan Northrop anxiously waits outside a Senate committee hearing, his girlfriend rubbing his shoulders and whispering words of support as he prepares to sign in to testify about nearly two decades of freedom lost.
“Oh boy, here we go,” he says as the door opens.
Northrop has been here before, but he’s nervous …
Last Lawsuit in Wrongful Paris Convictions Settled
URBANA, Ill. (AP) – A federal judge signed off on a $3.5 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by 1 of 2 men wrongfully convicted of killing newlyweds in eastern Illinois in the 1980s.
The settlement OK’d by U.S. District Judge Harold Baker last week ended the last of the lawsuits filed by Randy Steidl …
Release for Man Convicted in ’70 Deadly Ariz. Fire
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A man who has spent more than four decades in prison for a Tucson hotel fire that killed 29 people, including some who jumped from windows to escape the searing heat, is expected to be released Tuesday as part of a deal with prosecutors.
Louis Cuen Taylor was convicted of murder …
Va. Supreme Court Exonerates Man Convicted in 1976 Abductions of Woman, 2 Children
By Associated Press
RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Supreme Court has exonerated a man who was convicted of abducting a woman and her two children from an Interstate 95 rest stop in Prince William County in 1976.
The justices granted a writ of actual innocence to Garry Diamond after DNA testing eliminated him as the …
Texas: Justice Seeks Inquiry Into Wrongful Convictions
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Justice Wallace Jefferson of State Supreme Court called for a commission to investigate wrongful convictions, suggesting on Wednesday that faith in the legal system might be undermined given that Texas leads the nation in prisoners set free by DNA testing. Addressing the Legislature, the chief justice of Texas’ highest civil court …
Lake County Wrongful-Conviction Review Panel Sworn In
A volunteer advisory panel to take a look at potentially wrongful convictions in Lake County is sworn in Waukegan, Ill. Read the full story here.
Ex-DA Denies Misconduct in Wrongful Conviction
By WILL WEISSERT Associated Press
GEORGETOWN, Texas February 9, 2013 (AP)
A former Texas district attorney whose prosecution led to an innocent man spending 25 years in prison for his wife’s murder looked the man in the eye Friday and said “the system obviously screwed up” but offered no apology.
Now a judge in …
Low Payout Limits Can Hinder Wrongfully Convicted
MILWAUKEE (AP) — An innocent Texas man was convicted of rape and robbery and served 30 years in prison before his conviction was overturned. The state paid him $2.4 million in compensation plus annuities of $13,000 per month.
Five years later, this time in Wisconsin, another innocent man was convicted of homicide. He served …
Convicted Police Captain Exonerated
An Ohio judge has exonerated former Akron police captain Douglas Prade in the murder of Prade’s former wife. Read the full story here.
Proposed Bill Would Require Police to Record Interrogations of Suspects
A South Carolina bill would require law enforcement to record on video interrogations of suspects. Read the full article here.
Juneau Judge Weighs DNA Testing in 1982 Case
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A judge in Juneau is considering whether to order DNA testing in a three-decade old double murder.
DNA Now Spelling More Guilty Verdicts
DNA evidence is solving crimes in Texas, recently passing the 10,000th mark in the number of cases solves after a suspect’s DNA matched with offenders’ DNA samples. Read the full article here.
Dismissed Case Raises Questions On Shaken Baby Diagnosis
NPR’s Joseph Shapiro examines a San Francisco case–now dismissed–where a father stood accused of shaking his 3-month-old son. Read the full story here.
Louisiana Death Row Inmate Freed After 15 Years – With A Little Help From DNA
Damon Thibodeaux spent 15 years on death row. His first interview after being freed, read the full story here.
Northwestern Puts Focus on Wrongful Convictions of Women
Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions opened the Women’s Center for female prisoners’ potentially innocent of crimes. Read the full story here.