Updated to include an additional interview. A Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial published this weekend concludes that Tarrant County has not exonerated nearly as many innocent prisoners as Dallas County simply because it did not wrongfully incarcerate them in the first place. This black-and-white ... More >>
On the trail for justice with Texas' exonerees.
If Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins has a direct foil in the state of Texas, it's soon-to-be-former Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley. Watkins, actively pursuing innocence claims and making Dallas the leading county for exonerations in Texas, is an outlier, albeit one who is ga ... More >>
As most people who follow the news know by now, since Craig Watkins became Dallas County district attorney in 2007, 33 local men have been exonerated of crimes they didn't commit. But what does this number mean in the context of the rest of the nation, and what are the common issues that lead to wro ... More >>
Rick Halperin, head of SMU's human rights program, has been saying for years what became nationally recognized this week: "Yes, America, We Have Executed an Innocent Man," to borrow a headline from the Atlantic. Halperin has spent his career doing the academic equivalent of banging his head against ... More >>
Debbie Jones spent decades coming to grips with the fact Thomas McGowan raped her. Then she found out he didn't.
This morning, two men stood in the same courtroom where they were convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to life in prison for a rape and shooting that happened almost 30 years ago. This time, both were smiling, as they were one step closer to exiting the criminal justice hell that consumed t ... More >>
Freeing the wrongfully convicted through science was the easy part. Now what?
If a man spends 26 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit, you can bet he's going to want every cent he can get through the state's statutory compensation plan for the wrongfully imprisoned. We spoke with Johnnie Lindsey for this week's cover story about the ongoing legal battle between ... More >>
The Lubbock lawyer teamed up with Innocent Project lawyer Jeff Blackburn to see the state compensation for exonerees raised. Now both men are under fire from their clients.
Johnny Pinchback, who has served 27 years for a crime the Dallas County DA now says he did not commitAt around 10:30 on the night of March 22, 1984, two girls, both younger than 16, were on their way home from a store in their Dallas neighborhood when they were approached by a man wielding a gun. ... More >>
Photos by Andrea GrimesCornelius Dupree Jr., surrounded by friends, family and many of his fellow DNA exonerees, was officially declared innocent of robbery and sexual assault this morning in Dallas court."It's a joy to be free again," Cornelius Dupree Jr. told a courtroom full of lawyers, courth ... More >>
Clay ChabotBehind bars for more than 20 years, after being found guilty of the 1986 rape and murder of a Garland woman named Galua Crosby, Clay Chabot always maintained he was innocent. This morning, that all changed: In a Dallas courtroom, Chabot pleaded guilty to Crosby's murder. He was p ... More >>
As mentioned yesterday, several of the Dallas County exonerees appeared on CNN's Larry King Live last night, where they were joined by the stars of the movie Conviction, The Innocence Project's Barry Sheck and Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins. On the other side you'll find King's int ... More >>
I winced when asked to screen an advance copy of Dallas DNA, Investigation Discovery's new six-part series that adds to the growing legend that is Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins. It took Henry Wade decades in office to achieve legendary notoriety, but with the global media fawning ove ... More >>
Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch blog wonders this morning, "Is DNA exoneration too real for reality TV?" The show in question, of course, is Dallas DNA, Investigation Discovery's six-part series about Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, his office's Conviction Integrity Unit and the use o ... More >>
Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins wants to address "the bigger picture" concerning wrongful convictions. One month ago, hundreds of law-enforcement officials from around the state gathered under the dome in Texas’s Senate chamber at the behest of Sen. Rodney Ellis of Houston. They came ... More >>
Dallas County District Attorney's Office James Lee Woodard, who served 27 years in prison before his release today In the wake of today's release of James Lee Woodard, yet another Dallas County prisoner exonerated by DNA evidence, State Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston revealed plans for a day-long ... More >>
The Yearning for Zion Ranch just outside Eldorado In San Angelo this morning, under cloudy skies, dozens of polygamist parents are filing into court to argue for custody of their children. At the center of the storm is 51st District Judge Barbara Walther, who is presiding over the largest child cust ... More >>
Clay Graham From left to right: James C. Giles, Thomas McGowan, James Waller and Charles Chatman Clay Graham, a newly minted lawyer with The Innocence Project of Texas, was on hand in the courtroom of Judge Susan Hawk yesterday and snapped photos as Thomas McGowan, wrongfully convicted of burglary ... More >>
Thomas McGowan Moments ago, Unfair Park received a media release from The Innocence Project that says tomorrow afternoon, Thomas McGowan -- who's spent the past 23 years behind bars after being convicted of rape and burglary in Dallas County -- will be released from prison, as DNA testing has reveal ... More >>
Shortly before Charles Chatman was freed from prison last week, after becoming the 15th Dallas County man exonerated by DNA evidence since 2001, State District Court Judge John Creuzot treated him to a T-bone steak -- after teaching Chatman how to use the knife he'd been denied in prison. In an edit ... More >>
In story after story this morning, Charles Chatman has said the same thing: People will know my story. Surely, you know it by now: The 47-year-old Chatman, sentenced to prison in 1981 years ago for aggravated rape, yesterday became the 15th wrongfully convicted prisoner in Dallas County to be exoner ... More >>
Clay Chabot, not yet one of those technically exonerated by DNA evidence In an Unfair Park item I posted last week about the case of Clay Chabot, I quoted Susan Campbell, spokeswoman for the family of Galua Crosby. Chabot has served 21 years in prison for her Crosby’s 1986 murder. Campbell wante ... More >>
A fine Project has Ball at the Lakewood
Mark Graham Billy James Smith spent almost 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Now, he wants the city to make it right. This morning Billy James Smith became the first man exonerated through DNA evidence to file a federal civil rights and malicious prosecution lawsuit against the City ... More >>
James Curtis Giles At 11 this morning, a law student from Chicago named Lauren Kaeseberg will be standing alongside Barry Scheck -- and other attorneys with The Innocence Project -- in the court of Judge Robert Francis. They will be presenting new evidence in an exoneration hearing in the case of Ja ... More >>
Craig Watkins is apologizing to folks exonerated by DNA evidence. He might be very, very busy... New Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins is making it a practice to shake hands with and apologize to those folks who have been exonerated through DNA tests -- which has happened twice since he ... More >>
Barry Scheck's all about getting innocent people out of jail, which is great, but it still doesn't explain that whole O.J. thing. Barry Scheck, former O.J. Simpson defense attorney and founder and co-director of The Innocence Project, is scheduled to appear in a Dallas courtroom this morning with Jo ... More >>