In an op-ed in Tuesday’s Washington Times, former chairman of the American Conservative Union David A. Keen
about the importance of delivering justice in wrongful conviction cases, specifically that of Thomas Haynesworth in Virginia.
After serving 27 years for three rapes that DNA and other evidence now show were committed by a serial rapist, Haynesworth was finally released from prison earlier this year. Despite the evidence, he has yet to be fully exonerated and is now waiting for his case to be heard by the entire Virginia Court of Appeals. While he awaits the decision, he is forced to register as a sex offender.
Cops and prosecutors alike rolled their eyes at (Haynesworth’s) protestations of innocence. Mr. Haynesworth said that although few people can imagine what it’s like to serve time in prison, it is impossible to imagine what it’s like for someone like him who finds himself facing life behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.
… Some years ago, I testified before Congress on the need to allow post-conviction DNA testing in death-penalty cases when there was any possibility that such tests might prove that a prisoner facing execution might, in fact, be innocent. I just couldn’t understand how a prosecutor or anyone involved in such a case wouldn’t want to be sure before taking a human life, but members of the prosecutorial community almost unanimously opposed such tests.
And although Haynesworth is still not fully cleared, he is backed by key supporters. The Innocence Project, along with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and Hogan Lovells US LLP helped secure his parole release and continue fighting for his full exoneration. The Commonwealth’s Attorneys in the two counties where his convictions occurred have called for his exoneration. Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli says he “will do everything in his power” to ensure Haynesworth is cleared.
Hundreds of Innocence Project supporters have also sent messages to Haynesworth to show their support.
Join them by sending your message here