Dallas County Sets Wrongful Conviction Records
Dallas County just set two records. James Lee Woodard is the latest of 17 wrongfully convicted defendants in Dallas County who have been released as the result of new DNA analysis, the most DNA exonerations of any county. Dallas County also kept Woodard behind bars for more time than any other inmate who has been exonerated by DNA.
Mr. Woodard, 55, was sentenced to life in prison in 1981 for the strangulation and rape of his 21-year-old girlfriend, Beverly Ann Jones. But information that Ms. Jones was with three men – including two later convicted of unrelated sexual assaults – around the time of her death was not disclosed to the defense nor was it thoroughly investigated, said prosecutor Mike Ware, who oversees the Dallas County district attorney's office conviction integrity unit.
Rodney Ellis, a member of the Texas Senate, has been trying to get the state to fund an Innocence Commission. He's organized a forum to be held next week that will focus on the prevention of wrongful convictions. Jeralyn has more here.
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