News 11.14.08

Eight years free


Anthony Robison spent ten years in prison for a rape he did not commit and thirteen years fighting for the DNA testing that would finally exonerate him. Today marks the eighth anniversary of his exoneration.

On the day of the crime, Robinson was picking up a car for a friend at the University of Houston. University police blocked his car and accused him of raping a woman. According to the victim, her attacker was a black man wearing a jacket. Despite the victim stating the perpetrator had a moustache, which Robinson did not, he was brought in for questioning. No physical evidence linked him to the crime. Based solely on the victim’s testimony, Robinson was sentenced to 27 years in 1987. When reflecting on how he felt at the time of his wrongful conviction, Robinson said, “It was not so much the fear of imprisonment. It wasn’t so much the fear of what was going to happen. Everything that I had lived for, everything that I had done had been boiled down to — we think you’re a rapist with no evidence whatsoever other than your skin and someone saying you did this.”

After serving ten years of his sentence, he was paroled and began raising funds to obtain DNA testing on the evidence used in his trial. He saved $1,800 through working jobs such as an order clerk at a local oil field supply company and other temporary jobs. Although he was a college graduate and a former Army officer, his status as a registered sex offender excluded him from higher paying jobs. Robinson hired an attorney, Randy Schaffer, and obtained access to DNA testing on evidence in his case. The results proved what he had known all along – another man had committed the crime.

On November 14, 2000, Governor George W. Bush pardoned Robinson. Since his exoneration, Robinson has spoken to lawmakers and the media, playing a key role in the passage of a law in Texas compensating the wrongfully convicted after their release.

Robinson went on to graduate from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, and currently works in international law.

While Robinson worked on parole in order to pay for DNA testing, many others are unable to pay for the expensive tests.

Make a donation today to help the Innocence Project pay for DNA testing for our current client


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Other exoneration anniversaries this week:


David Brian Sutherlin

, Minnesota (Exonerated 2002)


Paula Gray

, Illinois (Served 9 years, Exonerated 2002)


Donald Reynolds

, Illinois (Served 9.5 years, Exonerated 1997)


Billy Wardell

, Illinois (Served 9.5 years, Exonerated 1997)

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