Monday, January 03, 2011

First Texas DNA exoneration of 2011: Cornelius Dupree Jr.

Texas will apparently see another old conviction overturned tomorrow in Dallas based on latter-day DNA testing, AP's Jeff Carlton reports, after the wrongly convicted defendant in question actually made parole this July following a 30 year stint.
A Texas man who spent more time in prison than any other DNA exoneree in the state is expected to have a court overturn his conviction at an exoneration hearing Tuesday.

Cornelius Dupree Jr., 51, was paroled out of prison in July after 30 years behind bars for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. DNA test results that came back 10 days after his release excluded him as the person who raped and robbed a Dallas woman in 1979.

The Dallas County District Attorney's Office said Monday it supports Dupree's innocence claim.

Dupree has spent more time wrongly imprisoned than any other DNA exoneree in Texas, which has freed 41 wrongly convicted inmates through DNA since 2001, more than any other state. His 30 years would surpass James Woodard, who spent more than 27 years imprisoned for a murder that he was cleared of in 2008.
Apparently this was another case of faulty eyewitness testimony secured with flawed photo lineup procedures. I'm told that Michael Keasler, one of the current judges on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals who just won reelection in November, was a prosecutor on the case. Reported the Dallas News:
the rape victim wrongly identified Dupree in a photo array. The man could not pick out Dupree in a photo lineup. At trial, both victims identified Dupree as one of the men who abducted them in court.

Another man, Anthony Massingill, was also cleared in the same case, said Nina Morrison, an attorney with The Innocence Project.
Congratulations to Mr. Dupree, but what a bittersweet victory to serve a full sentence, earn parole, then be "exonerated" by modern science AFTER being released!  "Ooops!" or "I'm sorry" don't seem to cut it in such circumstances, does it?


Anonymous said...

What % of certainty would be acceptable to imprison a person for 30 years?

Charles in Tulia

jimbino said...

The totally sad thing, for me, is that I realize that there are so many Texas men out there, falsely accused of sex crimes, who made the mistake of being accused of a crime in which DNA was not available for exoneration.

"He touched me."

Anonymous said...

What is a life worth?

Any miscarriage of justice would be followed by the trial of the defendant and the prosecutor. If the trial is the slightest doubt that something has gone wrong in the original trial, those persons shall be sentenced to the same punishment as the wrongly convicted person has been convicted, even if it means death penalty.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Rick Perry will cite this as another case of proof that "the system works."

Anonymous said...

Something has to be done to bring responsibility to Texas Prosecutors. They aren't going to do it on their own.

Anonymous said...

I served time with Cornelius, we spent hours on the rec yard discussing his plight. Countless days in our cell examining the possibilities of righting a wrong.So many times I wondered how could this man be so at peace with himself yet so determined. Upon my release in 2008 I wrote a story and sent it to the Innocence Project folks in Lubbock (never heard back from them)... It is with great joy that I learn today of Cornelius's exoneration. I do not know completely what purpose this man's wrongful conviction and decades in prison will serve. Although I do know his faith, and our faith in our system of justice will make sense one day... one day as we look back in reverse, on the sad chapters of wrongful convictions in Texas

Harry Homeless said...

Let this be a lesson to the innocent!

Don said...

99.9, Charles, since 100% is impossible. Actually, I would put a few more 9's after that decimal.

Good one, Harry

Re: Perry. I guess he would say that the longer an innocent man serves before he is exonerated, the more proof it is that the system works.

Anonymous said...

Will things ever change. I recently read a Supreme Court case from the 60s in which the Court recognized the serious problems with eyewitness ID procedures. Yet, here we are almost 50 years later and we still have no procedures and standards in place.

THere's a Henry Fonda movie, made in the 50s I think, called the Wrong Man. It was a true story of a man who was arrested based on faulty eyewitness ID. It shows some real good examples of the wrong way to do lineups and ID procedures.

How long does it take to fix a problem after its recognized... 50, 60, 100 years?

Anonymous said...

The movie was 12 Angry Men, 1957, with Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb. It was directed by Sidney Lumet. It is indeed a great movie and points out the happenings in a fictional jury room where one man holds out for a not guilty verdict and sways the whole jury. In the end you find out that the man was indeed not guilty. A great hollywood story.

Zeety said...

The frequency with which these exonerations are occuring has nearly rendered the topic mundane. I wonder if any Vegas bookies are taking bets on how many defendants will be released from Texas prisons on any given week? We could make some money off this.

Zeety said...

12:20 - The Wrong Man was a Hitchcock movie starring Henry Fonda.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who the prosecutor is we can thank for having to pay a 2.4 million lump sum and 50k for the rest of mr. dupree's life?

Anonymous said...

I concur with 4:43. Convict the wrong man? Do the time he did. I guarantee you'll see far fewer John Bradley-esque assholes floating around like big turds in little bowls.

rodsmith said...

true. Eyewitness convictions are a joke. Which is probably why old testament law specificaly prohibited any conviciton on just the word of ONE person

Don't belive me...just ask your local religious leaders

Anonymous said...

You're right Rod Smith. But Jezebel had no trouble rounding up two false witnesses to get Naboth put to death so Ahab could have Naboth's vineyard.

Rev. Charles in Tulia

Anonymous said...

The movie I was talking about is the Hitchcock movie, "The Wrong Man". Even though Hitchcock made it, it is a true story. Hitchcock says that at the beginning.

Anonymous said...

To NBC--I love your news program, but I was alarmed tonight when you aired the story about the guy in Texas who was cleared after serving time for thirty years. You got every detail of the story wrong except for perhaps his name.
He was not released as a result of this DNA test--he had already been parolled--yet you framed the story around this fiction, even putting up quotes such as "free to go," which the judge undoubtably said, but which had nothing to do with his freedom. He was not arrested because he looked like the suspect--he was arrested because he looked like the suspect in a completely separate crime. He was not serving time because he was convicted of robbery and rape--he was never tried on the rape charge. Such liberties with the truth make us wonder what other truths you are watering down for simplicity or just getting wrong. And I'm going to share these facts with as many blogs as will have me, tonight. You deserve to be outed for this.

zeebling said...

so so sad a story
no amount of compensation will make up for this ..
but i felt a beautiful strength in this mans words & am deeply inspired

Anonymous said...

Charles, the percentage here would be atleast 50% +- 50% it would seem. Yeah Yeah, DNA testing wasn't 'available' at that time (although the federal government has been using some form of DNA identification for war dead since Korea).

yes, the system works as long as you allow a wide berth, coupled with blinders, complete misunderstanding of the system, non-responsibility clauses, and a dash of elected impunity.

We elected these people, and KEEP re-electing them... We are to blame atleast indirectly for some of these wrongs.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Dear Mr. Dupree, if you are reading this comment chances are good that you've read the GFB Post along with other comments. As you can see, your plight has touched the hearts of many and angered us all. As human beings, we seemed to have united (even if only for a brief moment) to express our outrage, disgust and suggestions.

It will take some considerable length of time for you to have properly been de-brainwashed in the TDC way of life. Not being angry now to point of yelling from the rooftops for heads to roll is understandable. But at some point, it will rise to the top and it will not be pretty.

First you'll have to deal with sirens, flashing lights and simple looks in your direction that you’ll wrongly perceive as eyeballing. I say deal with it, because it's a side effect that takes around 10 plus years to fade. Second, you'll be in a position to tell your complete story either: in interviews, books, TV documentaries and/or movies. All are just fine and are looked forward to, but should included: going before Congress, the Governor, the President and everywhere in between.

May you live long and prosperous my friend, and may the financial apology you receive from us (the Taxpayers), sting our asses as so hard, that we will never forget what has happened to you as it reminds us of countless other humans. With that I hope that it results in the Dupree Act. An Act, which includes: putting a stop to the D. As. ‘Intake’ filing charges simply on the word of a Detective over the phone, and forces the A.D.As. to personally compare the original descriptions in the Police Incident Report to the suspect in custody, and allows for a recess when one’s ineffective and incompetent attorney needs to obtain the correct timecard, receipt, or surveillance footage, etc… Thanks.

Zeety said...

Well said Thomas R. Griffith. Why shouldn't he be enraged that his whole life was stolen from him over some goddamn nonsense? He has earned the right to be on every TV set in this country screaming at the top of his lungs about how fucked up people are. Because people ARE fucked up when they say stupid shit like "the system worked" and imply he somehow won a lottery for getting a couple million dollars.

It's also a goddamn shame that Obama won't be inviting him to a "beer summit" because there are no whiney cops involved in this story. How about someone from the law enforcement community stand up and take responsibility for this miscarriage of justice?

You think that will ever happen? You think the collective respect for law enforcement hasn't been knocked down another notch with this latest exoneration? You think next week's exoneration will make the cops and DAs look any better?

If some kid gets hold of his daddy's gun and blows one of them LEOs away because we role modeled to him that's how it works, I won't be surprised or shed a tear.

You cocksucking low-life bigots deserve any evil that befalls you.

SFJDU said...

I doubt that this is a problem limited to Texas. Some articles covering this story mentioned that Dallas County has a better-than-average crime lab, as well as facilities to preserve DNA samples for decades, so they can be re-examined as new technologies become available.

This probably means that Dallas County is simply better than other jurisdictions at detecting wrongful convictions, and that they're simply going un-reported in other places.