News 10.03.07

DNA testing proves Houston man’s innocence

DNA testing has proven that Innocence Project client Ronnie Taylor has been in prison for 12 years for a rape he did not commit. The DNA results also implicate another man, who is already in prison. Taylor is still in prison and the Innocence Project will work with the Harris County District Attorney’s office to secure his release as soon as possible.

Taylor’s wrongful conviction highlights the history of scandal at the Houston Police Department Crime Lab, which came under fire in 2002 after reports raised questions about the quality of DNA testing at the lab. DNA testing has already reversed two wrongful convictions caused in part by faulty testing at the HPD lab, and there are serious questions about the testing done before Taylor’s trial.

A crime lab expert testified at Taylor’s trial that she did not find semen on a bedsheet from the bed where the rape took place. It is on that same sheet that recent testing identified semen from the rapist. It was this testing that proved Taylor’s innocence.

“Ronnie Taylor’s wrongful conviction is the result of serious problems in the Houston Police Department Crime Lab,” said Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project. “The HPD Crime Lab failed to identify a stain on a sheet as semen. If the HPD Crime Lab had correctly identified the semen stain, DNA testing could have been conducted and Ronnie Taylor might not have been convicted. The faulty testing conducted in the HPD Crime Lab led to Ronnie Taylor’s wrongful conviction and prevented law enforcement from apprehending the true perpetrator.”



Read the Innocence Project press release here

.


Read media coverage on Taylor’s case:

Houston Chronicle:

DA’s office says DNA testing shows man innocent of rape

A two-year independent audit of the HPD crime lab was completed in August. Read the reports

here

, or read

previous blog posts on the lab

.

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