The Innocence Project of Texas faces potential economic oblivion later this year after a foundation whose funds made up the bulk of its income closed its doors due to an infamous Wall Street scandal. In a column in yesterday's Fort Worth Star Telegram, Cory Session, the youngest brother of the late Timothy Cole (who was exonerated posthumously this spring), writes:
I've been working since last year as the Policy Director for the Innocence Project of Texas, so obviously this unhappy possibility of the group's closure means a great deal to me personally, but so does the potential loss of an organization that's been an important change agent in Texas over the last couple of years.
The Innocence Project of Texas fights daily for its survival.
Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme robbed the nonprofit of its funding. It will cease to exist after July, unless there is "manna from heaven." The project is operating on fumes and the credit card of one of its volunteers to seek justice for the incarcerated innocent.
On the floor at the Innocence Project office sit boxes of files. Most will never be investigated because there’s no money.
Luckily, [Timothy] Cole’s file was investigated — only it was eight years after he died in prison. The volunteers at the project promised Tim’s mother that they would still seek justice for her son. Their promise resulted in the first posthumous DNA exoneration in Texas.
Often, I have read about millions of dollars being donated to support the arts, which are a vital part of our culture, but I can’t help but wonder why those who "have" are not willing to do the same for the innocent.
The Innocence Project of Texas has a proven track record of numerous exonerations.
Tim Cole will never get to enjoy the arts.
If you've been following Texas' DNA exonerations on this blog or elsewhere and believe the work of the Innocence Project of Texas is important and needs to continue, I hope you'll consider making a donation to the group, as Kathy and I just did, in Timothy Cole's memory. And thanks, Cory, for your kind words and the helpful plug for the group.