Texas Appeals Court to Support Innocence Clinic

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has decided to back the formation of Innocence clinics.

After years of criticism for favoring prosecutors, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is supporting a proposal for a project to investigate prisoners' claims that they were wrongfully convicted. The project could involve a network of clinics, like those at the University of Houston and the University of Texas at Austin, that investigate inmate claims.

The appeals court will ask lawmakers to increase its 20 (M) million-dollar fund to teach defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges about handling innocence claims, according to Judge Barbara Hervey.

One Innocence Clinic would not be enough. In a state like Texas with its huge number of death sentences and reversals, a network is definitely needed.

Since the Center for Actual Innocence opened at the University of Texas Law School in 2003, about 10 students have screened more than 1 thousand claims of innocence from inmates. About a dozen cases selected are in the early stages of investigation.

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