Mallin's participation with Cole's family emphasizes how doubly harmful it is when an innocent person is convicted, since that also means the guilty person won't be punished. I really admire her reaction to this terrible scenario and her willingness to work with Cole's family.
"I felt total guilt. My words. My pointing the finger at him, were the reason he went to prison," Mallin said. "I felt just terrible. . . . I never wanted the wrong man to be convicted. I hope everyone knows that."
Back then a 20-year-old Texas Tech sophomore, Mallin was a woman on a mission, determined to send Cole — nicknamed the "Tech Rapist" — to prison. Now, at 43, she is equally determined to clear Coles’ name, making him the first posthumous exoneration by DNA in Texas.
She will meet with Cole’s mother and brothers today in Fort Worth and will work with their attorney in filing a petition next week seeking a court of inquiry to clear Coles’ name.
Ruby Session, Cole’s 71-year-old mother, is looking forward to meeting Mallin.
"I don’t blame her. We don’t blame her. We never did," Session said. "Because she is a victim, too. She was victimized. She and Tim were the victims." ...
"I thought this family probably hates me. He can’t, but they must," Mallin said. "I couldn’t believe that they wanted to talk to me or see me. They were very gracious and nice people. They said they didn’t blame me."
Just as there's no real process for courts to review post-conviction actual innocence claims in cases with no DNA, there's also not an established way for courts to clear the name of innocent people where the wrongfully convicted defendant has died. The Innocence Project of Texas (Disclosure: for whom I work as a policy consultant) has taken on Cole's case and is pursuing a legal strategy to posthumously exonerate him that will next take Cole's family and Mallin to Austin:
Jeff Blackburn, chief counsel for the Innocence Project of Texas, said he plans to go to Travis County to seek the court of inquiry after being rejected by a Lubbock County judge in early August.
"What they want, and Michele Mallin wants, is a judge in some court in this state to finally tell it like it is and set the record straight," Blackburn said. "Only that will clear his name and provide some closure for Michele."