Dallas County Exonerees Unite to Help Free Other Innocent Prisoners


After serving a combined 63 years behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit, three Texas exonerees continue the fight against injustice, this time helping others they believe were wrongfully convicted.


Christopher Scott


Johnnie Lindsey


Billy Smith

are assisting the recently released and investigating claims of innocence through their new detective agency. The three intend to look into the most difficult cases, those for which DNA isn’t available. NPR reports on their first case, Jimmy O’Steen. O’Steen, who served time with Scott, was convicted of armed robbery in 1997 and sentenced to 75 years in prison based almost exclusively on eyewitness misidentification, though he claims he didn’t match the description of the perpetrator. The group convinced Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins to take another look at O’Steen’s case.


Scott, Lindsey and Smith’s wrongful convictions were also based on eyewitness misidentification, the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in nearly 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing. Scott, who leads the group, says:

“The struggle I went through to get out [of prison], I said, well, I gotta do something to try to make it better for the other individual[s] who are in prison right now.”

“Freedom Fighters,” a documentary about the group is in production. Watch the trailer


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