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Hindsight is 20/20

Judge Keith Dean, who gave a pot-smoker life and let a murderer walk, was voted off the bench Tuesday. 20/20 is kinda taking the credit for that one.

Dunno if you saw this last week, but during 20/20's special report on "Privilege in America" last week, it included a piece on Tyrone Brown and Alex Wood. Who're they? Well, Alex Wood's the white guy who pleaded not guilty to shooting a male prostitute in Dallas in 1995 and ended up getting 10 years probation and serving no prison time. Tyrone Brown's the black guy who got life in prison for smoking some weed while on probation for stealing two bucks at gunpoint in 1990. Maybe you read about them in April, when Brooks Egerton first told their disparate stories in Dallas' Only Daily. Hell of a piece. Which is why 20/20, ya know, borrowed it.

The judge responsible for Wood's walking and Brown's trying suicide in prison was Keith Dean of the 265th Judicial District. Dean was a "widely respected 20-year veteran of the Dallas criminal bench," Egerton wrote. Only, he's off the bench: On Tuesday, voters decided to ditch Dean, who told KDFW-Channel 4 yesterday, "I had a little trouble sleeping last night, just thinking about [the] future." Dean will be replaced by Mark Stoltz, a former Dallas County felony prosecutor. That's the man to whom you need to appeal on Brown's behalf, 20/20 is telling its viewers:

"Brown's best hope for an early release is to get letters from the new judge of the 265th Judicial District, Mark Stoltz; the newly elected district attorney, Craig Watkins; and an official from law enforcement recommending a commutation of his sentence.

Those letters would be sent to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and if a majority recommended reducing Brown's sentence, that request would go to the governor, Rick Perry.

Brown would likely need some free legal assistance with that process. Individuals and organizations have expressed interest in helping, according to his mother, Nora.

Brown is eligible for parole in 2009.

ABC News will continue to follow Brown's story and update the 20/20 Web site and broadcast if his situation changes. "

So will Brooks Egerton, no doubt. After all, it was his story. --Robert Wilonsky

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