Texas Summit on Wrongful Convictions starts an important conversation
More than 100 key leaders from Texas’ criminal justice system came together yesterday in Austin to discuss the causes of wrongful convictions and changes necessary to free the innocent, improve forensic testing and prevent future injustice. Texas leads the nation in wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing – with 31 people exonerated from 10 counties across the state. The first Summit on Wrongful Convictions in the nation, yesterday’s meeting was called by Texas State Sen. Rodney Ellis to advance the state’s dialogue on wrongful convictions. Nine people freed by DNA testing in Texas attended the event, each standing up to tell their stories.
One by one, nine wrongly convicted men stood up on the floor of the Texas Senate on Thursday to explain how innocent men ended up in prison and how to prevent it from happening again.
"I'm here to tell you I lost everything. I am still hurting. I am still broken," said James Giles, who spent 10 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. "We can do better in the justice system. The system failed all of us."
…The applause was loudest when Giles tore up his sex offender registration card, something he had to carry for 15 years while he was on parole before getting exonerated. He ripped it up, he said, because he had a new card to carry: a voter registration card.
Read the full story here
. (Associated Press, 05/08/08)
Watch a new Innocence Project video featuring interviews with three Texas exonerees: Brandon Moon, Chris Ochoa and Ronnie Taylor
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