Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Final chapter of Tim Cole saga written today

I'll be missing the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee meeting this afternoon to head to the Travis County Courthouse for the unveiling of Judge Charlie Baird's opinion on the Timothy Cole posthumous exoneration. (See AP's coverage.)

This is the final chapter of an epic false-conviction story that first began more than 20 years ago with a false eyewitness ID in Lubbock. The victim in that case who misidentified Cole will be in town for the hearing along with Cole's family, with whom she has reconciled.

Speaking of exonerations, I join the national Innocence Project's blog in congratulating Brandon Moon on yesterday's fourth anniversary of his exoneration. I covered one of Brandon's first public appearances after he got out on this blog at a Senate Criminal Justice Commmittee hearing in Houston, and just saw him a couple of weeks ago, also in H-Town at an Innocence Network conference. He's living in Missouri and his website is Exoneree.net.

Perhaps as evidence for how the increasingly long string of DNA exonerations has altered the discussion about the justice system in America, both my word processing and blog software fail to recognize the plural of the word "exoneree," as though such a rarity would never come in large enough numbers to add an "s" on the end. Ditto for the word "exoneration" - Blogger says it's misspelled if I write about multiples of them.

These days, though, we talk about DNA exonerees in terms of volume, with more than 200 nationally and 39 in Texas - 19 in Dallas County alone, mostly because they kept old forensic evidence that was unavailable for testing elsewhere. And we know that the same errors that led to exonerations in these cases were likely made in many more where exculpatory DNA evidence was unavailable.

Read more about Brandon Moon, Timothy Cole, and all Texas' other exonerees in an excellent recent report from the Justice Project titled, "Convicting the Innocent: Texas Justice Derailed."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Spellcheck software is not to be relied on. I know one such applet that will insist that terms like "New Zealand" are misspelled. And if you ever need to use British or archaic spellings for anything, you're sunk.

Spell-check is OK for posting on internet fora, (and apparently, this software considers "fora" to be a misspelling as well) but not in any serious context.