The man convicted of killing 7-year-old Ashley Estell in 1993, a crime that prompted tough laws against sex offenders, is arguing in a new motion that DNA evidence proves he is innocent.So the case that spawned Texas' sex offender registration laws appears to have been based on a situation that caused a wrongful conviction! The vengeful sentences and lifetime registration requirements passed by the Legislature were created to spite someone who likely wasn't responsible for the crime.
"Given the nature of this evidence ... his actual innocence can hardly be disputed," death row inmate Michael Blair's attorney Phil Wischkaemper said in Wednesday editions of The Dallas Morning News.
Blair was convicted in 1998 of molesting and strangling Ashley after she was abducted from a suburban Dallas soccer field. The case sparked the Legislature to pass tough sexual-predator measures called "Ashley's Laws." The measures require longer prison terms and public registration for sex offenders.
Today, about 45,000 people are registered in Texas' public sex offender database under that law. I wonder how many of them are in the same boat?
UPDATE: See more from Corrections Sentencing on sex offender laws, plus additional links from Sentencing Law and Policy.