Sunday, June 14, 2009

Interview on innocence with Dallas public defender

At the Dallas News, check out Jennifer Emily's interview with "Dallas County public defender Michelle Moore [who] has represented seven of the 20 people proven innocent by DNA testing after they had been unjustly convicted and served time in prison." I worked with Moore for a time when she was a boardmember of the Innocence Project of Texas, a position she left when she was assigned to handle post-conviction DNA testing cases for the Dallas Public Defender office.

Moore said the best thing police could do to prevent false convictions would be to use "blind sequential lineups." Asked whether Dallas would see more exonerations, Moore declared she had "
several cases on the radar at present that I would bet money on."

6 comments:

Boyness said...

"I definitely believe that cross-racial misidentification is a huge factor in these exonerations. In any of the cases, I believe that the police were making a valiant effort to solve the crimes very quickly. In doing so, the police developed tunnel vision and made the evidence fit the person that they believed committed the crime.

Some of the cases involved prosecutors who did not turn over evidence that should have been turned over according to the law. I believe that these cases occurred because the DAs could not get promoted without wins under their belt. Thus, Dallas County became a "win at all costs" county to the detriment of these innocent men."

PRETTY DAMNING STUFF HUH? THIS CULTURE HAS GOT TO CHANGE. WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO MAKE PEOPLE CARE ENOUGH TO CHANGE IT?

Jeff Gamso said...

The question, really, is whether Dallas is more likely than other places to convict the innocent. And while that's certainly possible, it seems more likely what we see in Dallas is really just a consequence of what happens when you make the effort and put the resources into a place.

So what they find in Dallas is probably what you'd find everywhere if you looked carefully.

And that's really frightening, if you think about it.

Boyness said...

Jeff Gamso said...

The question, really, is whether Dallas is more likely than other places to convict the innocent. And while that's certainly possible, it seems more likely what we see in Dallas is really just a consequence of what happens when you make the effort and put the resources into a place.

So what they find in Dallas is probably what you'd find everywhere if you looked carefully.

And that's really frightening, if you think about it.

6/14/2009 06:05:00 PM

Such a valid point. I don't think Dallas is any better or worse than anyplace else, they just happened to save DNA and have had the fortitude to act appropriately by seeking exonerations.

I do not doubt for a minute that Texas is a place where the innocent are locked up. I dont know about other states but here, it seems to be cultural. The HPD Crime Lab fiasco is just one example and the willingness of the State to deny due process in West Texas is just another example.

There are stories everyday it seems like about corruption at nearly every level in the Lone Star. Until "we the people" get the good ole boys out of Austin and out of City Hall and County Courthouse's nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

It is very scary indeed! What about cases that don't involve DNA? Are you safe? NO! Remember we all have a twin out there and they say these cases are week..WRONG AGAIN. My son almost paid the ultimate for being misidentified out of a photo line up. Never went to trial...caught the real guy 3 weeks before the trial was to start. By far and few one of the luckiest guys walking this earth! Most settle for a plea bargain. Oh wait innocent people don't settle for plea's nor do they commit suicide? HA! Anyone falsely accused of a sex crime, child abuse or domestic violence is screwed! With all the hype and hysteria out there don't think for a minute that the jury will look in your favor unless you absolutely have hard core evidence that you are innocent. It's pretty scary when an attorney tells you, "In fact, 25% of the people in Texas who are convicted are in fact innocent." How many of those are sitting in our prisons???

Jackie Buffalo said...

You said it: "I believe that these cases occurred because the DAs could not get promoted without wins under their belt. Thus, Dallas County became a "win at all costs" county".
Amen.
The former administration bragged in the face of the fake drug scandal that they had a 98% or better conviction rate. Bragged.
That meant that if you were charged you had less than a 2% chance of beating it ?! Who do you think that less than 2% was ? Sure wasn't the poor.
The former DA's became nothing less than criminals themselves in their own behavior to advance their careers. If Texas had clean politics many of these former DA's would have been disbarred like NC's Mike Nifong. (which shows that this 'win at all costs' mentality is not isolated to Dallas County - but Dallas County had enganged in this behavior more blatently without any interference from outside sources)
Not one prosecutor has had to face charges in these exhonerations. Not one. Where is the justice here ?
Well, another election is around the corner. Don't get comfy here.

Boyness said...

Jackie Buffalo said...

Not one prosecutor has had to face charges in these exonerations. Not one. Where is the justice here ?
Well, another election is around the corner. Don't get comfy here.

6/15/2009 12:53:00 PM

There is NO justice in Texas. There is an incredibly shady in-justice system that rewards the liars and cheats who permeate it. I am afraid the system is so wrought with malice and deceit that we cannot fix it. It needs to be bulldozed and re-built. I would have a hard time believing anyone who has worked in it because ALL have some complicity.