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FL Supreme Court Appoints Former Judge to Head Innocence Commission

Two weeks ago, the Florida Supreme Court ordered the formation of an official Innocence Commission. From the Administrative Order:

NOW, THEREFORE, the Florida Innocence Commission is hereby established to conduct a comprehensive study of the causes of wrongful conviction and of measures to prevent such convictions. In conducting its work, the Commission may review individual cases involving a wrongful conviction where innocence has already been officially acknowledged, to determine the cause of these wrongful convictions. Such review may include the examination of documents and the interview of individuals involved in the cases. However, unproven innocence claims will not be reviewed.

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DNA Frees Another TX Man - This One After 23 Years

Ernest Sonnier served 23 years of a life sentence for rape. Yesterday, he was released from prison after DNA testing and his lawyers from the Innocence Project established his innocence.

Over the last 18 months, genetic testing of evidence found on the victim’s clothing and at the scene of the attack had yielded no trace of Mr. Sonnier, the Harris County district attorney’s office said. Instead, it has implicated two other men. Both are felons and known associates. One is awaiting trial for a different rape.

Prosecutors are not conceding Sonnier's innocence, "though prosecutors acknowledge that the new DNA tests cast strong doubt on the conviction." Now they want to do more investigation. Why didn't they do it when the claims of innocence were first raised?

Texas leads the nation in exonerations of the wrongfully convicted: [More...]

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Will LIFE imitate art or tell it like it is?

Will LIFE imitate art or tell it like it is?

by Kirsten D. Levingston

What happens when a cop is wrongly convicted of murder, serves a dozen years in prison, is freed by DNA, and returns to the very department responsible for the miscarriage of justice against him?  We'll find out this Wednesday at 10p. when NBC premieres its new crime drama, LIFE.  

The show's protagonist is LAPD police officer Charlie Crews, convicted of a triple murder he claims he did not commit.  Sentenced to a life term at a maximum security prison Crews loses his job, family, and friends before a DNA test proves his innocence.  

How does LIFE's compelling narrative stack up to the reality of today's justice system?  While art imitates life in some surprising ways, there are some differences that deserve our attention.

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