A Texas Tribune investigation analyzed 86 cases of wrongful conviction in Texas and found that 21—or 25%–involved prosecutorial error.
The article features the tragic case of Debbie Loveless and John Miller who were wrongfully convicted of murdering their four-year-old daughter who died from a dog attack. Prosecutors allegedly suppressed autopsy photos that clearly showed a paw print mark and dog hairs on the child’s body. Prosecutors argued that the couple had used a curling iron and a hunting knife to make it look like a dog attack. Loveless and Miller spent four years in prison before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the convictions. The Texas Tribune reports:
Despite the decades that innocent men and women have lost behind bars, none of the prosecutors involved were publicly disciplined.
“We have a good set of disciplinary rules on paper,” said Robert Schuwerk, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center who served on the committee that wrote the Texas Disciplinary Rule of Professional Conduct. “The question is, is anybody going to enforce them?”
The Innocence Project and partners have launched a nationwide tour to explore policy reforms to prevent misconduct. In March, the tour stopped at the University of Texas Law School in Austin and featured Texas exoneree Michael Morton who was wrongfully convicted for the murder of his wife and whose prosecutor now faces a Court of Inquiry to determine whether he contributed to the injustice by concealing evidence from the defense.
Read more about the
Prosecutorial Oversight Tour
Read more about
prosecutorial misconduct in Texas