News 03.13.08

Texas judge calls for retrial for Clay Chabot due to prosecutorial misconduct

A Dallas judge ruled yesterday that Innocence Project client Clay Chabot deserves a new trial in the 1986 murder for which he served 21 years in prison. Judge Mike Snipes wrote that prosecutor Janice Warder, who is currently running for Cooke County District Attorney, withheld key evidence of Chabot’s innocence from defense attorneys at the time of Chabot’s trial. The Dallas District Attorney and another judge have already said Chabot’s conviction should be tossed, but the Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas’s highest criminal court, asked for further hearings in Snipes’ court. Snipes’ ruling yesterday sends a recommendation to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which will make the final decision on a retrial.

Chabot was convicted of a murder in 1986, based on the testimony of his brother-in-law, Gerald Pabst. DNA testing has now shown that Pabst committed the crime and lied on the stand in his testimony against Chabot. Pabst is currently awaiting trial for the murder, and Chabot’s conviction was tossed out after the test results showed that the primary evidence against him – Pabst’s testimony – had been false. Chabot is on bond under house arrest while efforts to vacate his conviction continue.

Judge Snipes wrote "very strong findings that Mr. Chabot didn't get a fair trial the first time, and a very strong finding that he deserved to have his conviction overturned," said Jason Kreag, one of Mr. Chabot's attorneys.


Read the full story here

. (Dallas Morning News, 03/13/08)

Dallas has seen more people exonerated by DNA testing than any other county in the nation.

Read about the 14 Dallas exonerations here

.

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