Friday, January 28, 2011

Giving props to an unsung hero

Michele Mallin, the rape victim whose incorrect identification of Timothy Cole mistakenly sent him to prison, has been an unsung hero, to my mind, for the way she's handled the aftermath of that horrible revelation. Her error was unintentional; she never meant to frame Tim Cole. But her identification was sufficient to send him to prison, where he died in 1999 from an asthma attack. From the moment the DNA proved Cole's innocence, Mallin took personal responsibility and did everything in her power to make amends with the family of the deceased (who graciously reconciled with her). She also helped push for changes to how such lineups are conducted - a bill which died last session amidst partisan feuding but which has been refiled in both the Texas House and the Senate. Bob Ray Sanders at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a nice column this week about Michele and her relationship with Tim Cole's family. Give it a read.


A Texas PO said...

Probation officers have been taking oral swabs for DNA on every convicted felon placed on probation since September 2009. I wonder if DPS is actually updating the DNA database to help prevent this in the future.

Congratulations, Ms. Mallin! We all make mistakes, but few try to make amends.

Anonymous said...

The Probation Departments are not using the swabs to save anyone in the future. They are putting these items in the Database so that the State and feds can pull up other crimes unsolved, and then charge the folks they believe did it.

As we already know the law enforcement agencies to be largely corrupt, I have a feeling that we will also see some of this future innocence DNA used to solve crimes when the actual DNA donor wasn't around to have committed them. Read into that as you want, but it is not without merit as we have seen the history of the Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston police departments plant evidence linking actually innocent people to crimes they did not commit.
The day we allowed the state to begin taking DNA for anyone convicted of a felony was the day we put barcodes on the arms of our children, and our children's children.

Anonymous said...

I do believe that there are others who would make amends if given the opportunity and so unfortunate that our justice system is set up such that expressions of remorse are not only not facilitated, but thwarted in every way possible.