After 27 Years in Prison, James Lee Woodard's "Adventure" Continues


James Lee Woodard, getting a driver's license after 27 years in prison

Speaking of local news stories getting national attention this a.m., CNN follows in 60 Minutes' footsteps with a story about James Lee Woodard, who was released from prison on April 29 after serving 27 years for a murder he didn't commit. This week, CNN's actually run two pieces about Woodard and DNA exonerations in Dallas County: In one piece, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins talks about prosecuting the prosecutors who knowingly withheld evidence that led to innocent men receiving lengthy prison terms. Says Watkins: "When individuals intend to cause a person to be convicted for a crime they did not commit, that's an embarrassment for our profession."

In the other story, Woodard discusses the difficulty that comes with trying to reclaim 27 lost years -- down to obtaining ID, other than prison-issued identification. Notes reporter Ed Lavandera: "He can't open a bank account with a prison-issued I.D. He can't get a state I.D. card without a birth certificate or Social Security card. It's not easy starting over. Woodard calls it an 'adventure.'" --Robert Wilonsky

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky