Monday, November 26, 2007

The Exonerated

Having driven to Dallas Saturday night with a friend to attend a benefit for the Innocence Project of Texas (see AP coverage of the event), I got to meet quite a few exonerees from Big D and beyond, so I was pleased to return home to find Texas Monthly's Evan Smith on his blog pointing to a New York Times feature on DNA exonerations:
[The] New York Times has a long feature about the more than 200 prisoners who've been exonerated by DNA evidence in the U.S. since 1989. Not surprisingly, a disproportionate number of them are from Texas (the first two words of the story are the name of an exoneratee from Austin: "Christopher Ochoa"). Nice multimedia extension online: Go here to listen to them tell their stories in their own words. You'll surely get mad and depressed, as I did.
For a cold, rainy Saturday night on a holiday, I was gratified that several hundred people showed up at the DNA Blues Ball in Dallas. Jeff Blackburn, Chief Counsel of the Innocence Project of Texas (IPOT), told me at the end of the evening they'd raised enough to pay for 15 more inmates to get DNA tests to try to prove their innocence.

In addition, IPOT has formed an "exoneree council," Blackburn said, that intends to push for innocence reforms at the 2009 Texas Legislature.


Anonymous said...

To bad DNA can't be used to exonerate the 1000's of wrongfully convicted individuals in Texas and elsewhere. Prosecutors are like car salesman. The more they put away the better they look as compared to the sales of the latter. What is it going to take to get the message out that prosecutors have to much power to indict and then prosecute citizens. When it get out of control a county can get a reputation like Williamson County.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an outstanding turnout for this event. Besides the Dallas County DA, did any other prosecutors attend?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Watkins' chief of staff Terri Moore and several other folks from his office were there, at least among those I was introduced to. I was hoping Proximo would join us, but if he did he didn't introduce himself.

I thought it was an exceptional turnout given the weather, which was rainy and cold with a particularly nasty wind - I'd put it at somewhere between 300-400.