Justice for Josiah Sutton

A year after his release from jail, Josiah Sutton finally receives some justice. Sutton served 4/12 years of a 25 year sentence for rape before DNA tests proved he could not be the culprit. A Houston judge has recommended his conviction be overturned. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will make the final decision.

State District Judge Joan Huffman's recommendation was the latest court victory for Josiah Sutton, 22, who was freed from prison more than a year ago after new DNA tests discredited the original analysis performed by the Houston Police Department crime lab. Huffman said "inaccurate scientific evidence was admitted during the trial" and there was "clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable juror would have convicted him in light of the new evidence." Huffman's ruling will be sent to the state Court of Criminal Appeals, which will decide what to do with Sutton's conviction.

Sutton's justice is not complete, however. The Judge refused to find prosecutorial misconduct based upon Sutton's claim that the prosecution withheld evidence at his trial.

David Dow, Sutton's attorney, said Huffman's ruling is "a significant hurdle" and he hopes the state Court of Criminal Appeals will act expeditiously to throw out Sutton's conviction. Sutton's case could be resolved if the court system overturns the conviction, or the entire episode could be cleared from his record with a pardon from the governor. A pardon would require a recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Dow said he will continue to seek a pardon while he waits for the Court of Criminal Appeals to act.

Our prior coverage of Sutton's case is here and here.

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