Monday, June 26, 2017

Keller exoneration a warning parable about witch hunts

Congratulations to Fran and Dan Keller - an Austin couple accused of performing Satanic rituals and sexually abusing kids at their daycare a quarter century ago - on their formal exoneration nearly 30 years after their original false convictions.

The couple was released in 2013 and in 2015 their convictions were overturned. But the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied the couple actual innocence relief.

The difference came with a change in leadership at the Travis County DA's office. New DA Margaret Moore reversed her predecessor's stance and agreed to an actual-innocence finding, which is an alternative path to exoneration created by the Lege when Anthony Graves was exonerated but denied compensation because of the CCA's narrow definition of "actual innocence."

The CCA could have refused the agreement, but thank heavens they did the right thing and ratified it. It's long past time to make amends for one of the darkest, most surreal episodes Texas' justice system has seen in many a year. The outcome means the Kellers will each receive $80,000 per each year they were incarcerated, as well as a like amount distributed to them through a lifetime annuity.

In the wake of this happy news, the Dallas News editorial board took the opportunity to warn its readers that Texas and the nation still face dangers from "witch hunts" in the 21st century. Their editorial concluded:
All this matters, because new generations ferret out witches of their own. 
We are witness now to the blanket demonization of Muslims, of immigrants, of black drivers shot during police stops. And too often we rationalize our indifference with "better safe than sorry," or "if you didn't do anything wrong, there's no reason to worry." 
Try telling that to the Kellers.


He's Innocent said...

I'm not one prone to religion, but I thanked God when I heard this news last week. The Kellar's deserved this after all the suffering they and their families have gone through. (This all happened while I was in my late teens and I recall thinking it was madness even at that age.....)

I only wish that this foretold a turn on the current sex offender panic in the near future. Alas, I have zero hope for that. The drug war has been waged for 50 years against all rational data showing it to be a manufactured panic that destroyed countless other families. The government is still waging that stupid "war". Sex offenders are going to take beyond my lifetime, and my registered spouse's lifetime, to reverse. In the meantime, more valuable lives and families will be destroyed.

But guns, babies and by god emails! This nation has lost its collective mind.

Anonymous said...

a little late to the party but thanks for a good bit of news.