February 7, 2013
This week it was announced that DNA testing of bones found buried beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, had established that they belonged to King Richard III, who was killed in battle in 1485. Researchers were able to match DNA recovered from the skeleton with that of a living descendant of the much-vilified monarch's sister. The find was just the latest reminder of the immense power of DNA evidence, power that is expanding history and criminal justice but that also is subject to misuse.
February 4, 2013 |
GEORGETOWN, Texas - In emotional testimony Monday, a Texas man told a judge how it felt spending 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. “Brutal,” Michael Morton said. “But after a couple decades, I got used to it.” Morton, 58, who grew up in Los Angeles, was convicted in the 1986 beating death of his wife, Christine, at their home. He was exonerated and released almost a year and a half ago after DNA tests confirmed his innocence. Another man has since been charged in connection with the killing.
October 3, 2012
Re "300th prisoner freed by DNA testing," Oct. 1 The NFL's replacement referees blow a game-deciding call and it's decried as the unthinkable finally happening. The calamity is front-page news and even commands the attention of the White House. But the news that yet another person on death row has been freed based on DNA evidence, the 18th death row inmate and 300th overall, elicits barely a yawn and is buried inside The Times. The "bad calls" by prosecutors, judges, juries and appellate courts in each of these cases surely merit a little more attention and perhaps a little more analysis of how and why they were made.
July 31, 2012 |
A man who spent 24 years in a Florida prison for crimes he did not commit has been arrested and charged with attempted murder in another case, according to officials. Alan Jerome Crotzer has been charged with attempted murder and with shooting into a car in Tallahassee, Fla., wounding Antoine Davis in the arm and leg, according to police. Davis told authorities Crotzer had threatened him several months ago after they had an argument. With the help of the Innocence Project of Florida and in part because of new DNA evidence, Crotzer was exonerated in 2006 of rape and robbery charges.
May 18, 2012 |
HOUSTON -- The Texas Supreme Court has ordered the Lone Star State to pay more than $2 million to a former inmate who spent 26 years in prison for murder, a ruling that could set a precedent for compensating other prisoners whose convictions are overturned. Billy Frederick Allen, now in his 60s, was convicted of two 1983 Dallas-area murders. Unlike other inmates freed after DNA evidence proved their innocence, Allen was freed in 2009 after a court found problems with witness testimony and his trial attorneys' representation.
April 6, 2012 |
Three men convicted of purse snatching -- one of whom was sentenced to 99 years in prison -- were exonerated Friday in Dallas. They are the latest examples of men who have been wrongly convicted of crimes in Texas. Darryl Washington, Marcus Lashun Smith and Shakara Robertson were arrested in November 1994 and charged with aggravated robbery. The victim could not identify them, but witnesses who gave chase claimed the trio was responsible. As a result, a jury convicted Washington, who received the 99-year sentence, while Smith and Robertson accepted plea deals and were sentenced to probation.