Dewey freed after 16 years on retesting
The exoneration of Robert Dewey on Apr. 30 in Grand Junction, Co. brought the first success to the 2009 formed Colorado Justice Review Project (JRP). His attorney, Danyel Joffe, convinced the Innocence Project to fund the retesting of the DNA evidence that originally helped convict him.
DNA testing circa 1994 resulted in Dewey’s DNA as being 45 percent consistent with the rest of the population. The same evidence’s preservation made Joffe’s appeal for its retesting possible. Joffe exemplifies the fortitude required to pursue an 11 year case, like Dewey’s, and the unbiased approach a defense lawyer can use to gain respect and cooperation from prosecutors and law officers. The Denver Post discussed the case in detail here and here.
Move for testing seen as “frivolous” in Texas
In the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals, Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell claimed that testing untested evidence from a crime scene was “frivolous.” Hank Skinner was convicted for the 1993 triple homicide and is currently on death-row. Such evidence includes a bloody and sweaty windbreaker that a victim’s uncle was known to wear, hair found in the victims hand, and a bag of bloody knives. These items could not be more ideal for meriting testing.
While the judges gave promising testaments to the testing of evidence, it is disturbing that we still have to fight such notions against the undeniable proof of DNA.
Read more here.
Dallas County continues to fix an erroneous past
Dallas county released two more men after DNA testing proved their innocence on Tuesday, May 1. 2001. They were the 31st and 32nd released in Dallas County since 2001.
“To say I’m sorry is not enough,” State District Judge Susan Hawk said to Raymond Jackson, 67, and James Williams, 54. “But I hope you both have very full and happy lives.”
These successes also were dependent on the preservation of evidence by Dallas Country. Not only were they tried and convicted by the inaccurate identifications from victims and witnesses, the two African-American men faced an all white jury. Most of the mess Dallas County has to clean up is due to the trust its past convictions erroneously placed in eyewitness testimony, which so often is misconstrued by emotion and inaccurately conveyed by the naturally faulty nature of human memory. Most DNA exoneration cases prove convictions resulting from such testimonies.
More on that story here.