Fourteen years ago, a Texas jury sent Michael Blair to death row for a child murder he always said he didn’t commit. On Friday, a judge recommended tossing his conviction due to mounting evidence of his innocence. Innocence Project attorneys are working on Blair’s legal team, and you can read Co-Director Barry Scheck’s take on the case here.
A Dallas Morning News editorial on Sunday said these developments should “chill the blood of anyone who cares about justice and public safety” because they cast a shadow of doubt on the state’s criminal justice system.
It would offend the memory of (the victim’s) life if opponents of the death penalty – this newspaper included – used this opportunity to gloat about the faults of the justice system and potential for fatal error. After all, supporters of capital punishment will say that the system worked, that the appeals process succeeded in exposing the truth. They must concede, however, that in the absence of new forensic technology, the appeals would likely have accomplished nothing.
Read the full story here
. (Dallas Morning News, 05/25/08)
Less than a year after Blair was sentenced to death, then-Governor George W. Bush signed “Ashley’s Laws,” named after the victim in this case, expanding punishment and registration for sex offenders.
Read more here