Consensus grows for Texas innocence commission


Top judges, lawmakers and newspapers in Texas are calling for the creation of a state innocence commission to study the causes of wrongful conviction and recommend policy reforms to prevent future injustice.

The Austin American-Statesmen editorial board wrote this weekend that they hoped the May 8 Summit on Wrongful Convictions in the Texas Senate would spark renewed momentum for an innocence commissions.

“It is unacceptable that innocent people are convicted while the real culprits get away with rape, murder and other violent crimes. That approach is not tough on crime – it’s dumb on crime. …Anyone interested in justice – regardless of political philosophy or party affiliation – has a stake in finding a solution.”

Read the full editorial here

. (Austin American-Statesman, 05/17/08)

An editorial in Saturday’s Houston Chronicle calls on lawmakers to avoid partisan bickering over the creation of a panel to study the issue.

There is nothing to be gained by lawmakers' debating yet again whether a problem exists. The evidence is overwhelming that it does. Far better to create a commission now, so that next session the Legislature can begin to work to free all Texans who have been wrongly convicted.

Read the full editorial here

. (Houston Chronicle, 05/17/08)

And judges and lawmakers have come out in support of a state commission. From yesterday’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Wallace Jefferson, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, the state's highest civil court, voiced support for a commission in 2005 and 2007. Now he said he is specifically calling on state lawmakers to find money for the effort.

"I haven't heard an objection that persuades me that it is not a good idea," Jefferson said. "What better way to spend public dollars than to make sure the innocent doesn't go to jail?"

Read the full story here

. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 5/19/08)

More than 100 key leaders from across the Texas criminal justice system attended the landmark Summit on Wrongful Convictions in Austin on May 8.

Read more about the Summit here



video interviews

with three men exonerated by DNA evidence after serving years in Texas prisons for crimes they didn’t commit.

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to learn about other innocence commissions across the country.

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