Dallas County District Attorney's Office
James Lee Woodard, who served 27 years in prison before his release today

On May 8, A Summit in Austin to Discuss the "Tragedies" of Wrongful Convictions

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 Summit on Wrongful Convictions. It's scheduled to take place May 8 down in Austin, where, according to the Innocence Project's Web site, "key leaders from across the state" will gather "to determine the causes of wrongful convictions in Texas and identify reforms that can prevent them."

On his Web site today, Ellis offered his "condolences" to Woodard, who served 27 years in prison for a crime DNA evidence revealed he didn't commit. And, Ellis said in a prepared statement, "We have now had more than 30 DNA exonerations in Texas -- more than any other state in the nation. ... That's why I am asking criminal justice experts from around the state and both sides of the aisle to come together in the Texas Capitol on May 8th, review these tragic cases, identify what has gone wrong, make recommendations on how to make it right, and prevent these tragedies in the future." Further details about the summit are forthcoming, but it will be open to the public and take place at the Capitol building. --Robert Wilonsky

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