Houston convictions reopened due to possible lab error


Houston prosecutors met with 19 inmates at a Texas state prison Monday to offer them a state-appointed legal representative to review possible lab errors in their case. Between now and Nov. 1, this option will be presented to 180 defendants whose convictions involved questionable serology testing at the Houston Police Department Crime Lab.

Prosecutor Marie Munier said the review might find that the serology lab work played very little in the conviction of an inmate.

“The question is do we have anyone in there that faulty serology work played a part or has someone that is innocent in prison. That’s the issue I’m concerned with,” she said.

Read the full story here

. (KHOU, 10/22/07)

This review stems from a two-year independent audit of the lab, completed in June, that found hundreds of cases in need of review based on possible forensic error. The Innocence Project has identified more than 400 cases in need of immediate review and called upon Houston officials and private organizations to work together to address all of the cases.  The Innocence Project and local and state leaders maintain that the cases cannot be truly addressed unless independent attorneys with access to forensic expertise review them.

Read about the case of Ronnie Taylor

, who was released Oct. 9 after DNA evidence proved his innocence of a rape for which he had served 12 years in prison. An error at the Houston crime lab contributed to Taylor’s wrongful conviction, and after his release he went straight to the Houston City Council to call for systemic reforms to review possible wrongful convictions and prevent future injustice.

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