Here's the opinion and other information about the case. See also daily coverage of Coleman's trial in Lubbock from Grits guest blogger Rev. Alan Bean.
Is this the end of the Tulia saga? So many things have happened as a result of what Tom Coleman did:
- All of the verdicts were overturned and 35 people received Governor's pardons.
- About fifty multi-jurisdictional narcotics task forces were first placed under control of the Texas Department of Public Safety, then lost their funding when many rebelled; nearly all disbanded.
- The Texas Legislature passed a law requiring corroboration for informant testimony in undercover drug stings (provisions to corroborate officers were stripped out in the Senate).
- Certain records about fired officers were made public at Texas' peace officer licensing agency, and agencies were required to check those records before hiring to address the problem of "gypsy cops."
- Provisions were created to let innocent convicts in Texas out on bail pending final appeals when prosecutors agree they're not guilty. This law could get even more use now with the proliferation of innocence projects.
- A much-acclaimed book was written on the subject by the reporter who broke the story.
If Congress picks up the ball on that bill next year when Democrats take power, the magnitude of reaction to Coleman's errors will grow further still, and what began as a pebble tossed into a small pond in West Texas will have grown into quite a wave of change. Really, it already has.
UDPATE: More from Self-Determinatin Radio.org.
NUTHER UPDATE: Not over yet, says ACLU of Texas' Liberty Blog, which notes that not all of the pardoned Tulia defendants have received compensation for their wrongful imprisonment.