In Texas, 32 people have been exonerated by DNA testing to date, more than any other state. Several more have been released and are waiting for their exonerations to become official. Patrick Waller was the latest to be released in Dallas, walking out of prison last week after spending more than 15 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit. An editorial in Sunday’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram says these exonerations reveals deep flaws in the system that need to be addressed.
Slowly but surely, Texas elected officials are realizing the need to repair flaws and bolster public confidence. Officials in Dallas and Harris counties have been reviewing problematic cases. And the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in June announced formation of an integrity unit to examine a range of issues, including reliability of eyewitness identification procedures and crime lab work; quality of lawyering for indigent defendants; and attorney accountability for properly following procedures.
The system can’t work fairly without people of good faith doing their jobs honestly and seeking justice rather than cutting corners or pursuing personal agendas.
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