Dallas Inmate Freed After 25 Years, DNA Proves Innocence
Johnnie Earl Lindsey, age 56, became the 20th Dallas, TX inmate to be cleared by DNA testing and today was freed from prison.
Lindsay served 25 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit. His letters over the years requesting DNA testing were ignored.
Then District Attorney Craig Watkins was elected.
Lindsey, his lawyers and the judge repeatedly praised Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, who since taking office in January 2007 has examined wrongful convictions and not opposed attempts by prisoners seeking DNA testing. Mitchell said the job of a prosecutor is "not to convict but to see justice is done. We're fortunate to have a district attorney with the courage, dignity and honor to fulfill this duty."
Lindsey was at work when the crime was committed. At his trial, he produced his time cards and his employer testified for him. How did he get convicted? Erroneous eye-witness identification and faulty police lineup procedures. [More...]
At today's hearing, Lindsey was welcomed into a fraternity no one should ever have to be a member of:
In attendance at Lindsey's court hearing were fellow exonorees, a half-dozen wrongly convicted men who each served on average about 20 years in prison. One by one, they introduced themselves to Lindsey, the newest member of their fraternity.
As has become his habit at these hearings, one of the exonorees, James Giles, handed Lindsey a $100 bill to help him get started as a free man.
Also in the fraternity:
DA Craig Watkins also announced this week he will review all death penalty convictions in the county and seek to stop executions until the review has been completed.
Radley Balko interviewed Craig Watkins in April.
A former defense attorney, Watkins says the Dallas DA’s office has for too long adopted a damaging “convict at all costs” philosophy, an argument bolstered by a string of wrongful convictions uncovered by the Texas Innocence Project in the months before he was elected. Watkins ran on a reform platform, and pulled out a surprising victory against a more experienced Republican opponent.
After taking office, Watkins dismissed nine top-level prosecutors in the office. Nine others left voluntarily. He established a “Conviction Integrity Unit” to ensure proper prosecutorial procedures, and began working with the Texas Innocence Project to find other cases of possible wrongful conviction.
In related news, Grits for Breakfast reports on a woman who is on her way to Dallas to work with the family of the man wrongfully convicted of raping her. He was exonerated by DNA after he died in prison, and they are going to try and clear his name post-humously.
|< Palin Costing McCain Support in Florida | Palin's Poor Record on Alaskan Native Issues >|