Exoneration in Virginia expedited by high court
Bennett Barbour becomes the most recent case of an exoneration thanks to the good file-keeping of DNA evidence from cases before testing existed (1973-1988) by forensic scientist Mary Jane Burton . Barbour was convicted in 1978 and will likely seek compensation for his 4.5 years of time served–he got out on parole in 1983. The high court granted an immediate writ of actual innocence, only the third time this has ever been done. Another convicted rapist, James Moses Glass Jr., who served out another rape sentence by 2009 will go to trial soon, as the DNA was linked to him instead.
Hopefully it does not take a picture-perfect exoneration like this one, in that a new suspect was identified, to get the high court to treat wrongful convictions with equal severity. As a preventative measure, more weight does need to be given to witness misidentification. One of Barbour’s attorney’s, Deidre Enright, said “there will be other men and women wrongfully convicted in Virginia based on incorrect eyewitness identifications, and DNA will not always be present to exonerate them.”
More on this story here.