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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

DNA

In Coy vs. Texas, there was no DNA evidence, but I feel this issue must be addressed to understand the hopeless circumstances that falsely convicted prisoners face. Men have been convicted without any DNA evidence, and later exonerated by the sudden, surprising discovery that hey, there was DNA and it proved their innocence!
Ricardo Rachell was imprisoned in 2003, convicted without any DNA evidence of sexually assaulting a little boy. Even though two members of the jury had questions about the way in which the mother led her son to accuse Rachell, they gave him 40 years. His mother died while he was in prison. During the six years of his wrongful incarceration, numerous attacks were carried out against children in the same area, using the same method that Rachell was accused of. Although he alerted the authorities to this, and used it as part of his appeal, he was ignored until, magically, it was announced that DNA HAD been collected from the victim and guess what? It wasn't Rachell's! In fact, it belonged to a man who was at that time in custody.

His defense lawyer never asked to have the DNA tested because he didn't know it existed.

"However, I know that prosecutors are under a continuing obligation to provide exculpatory evidence," Hayes wrote. "Further I was aware that the State did not have any DNA evidence or other physical evidence to support the claim of sexual assault."
Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6163477.html#ixzz1PH7Mhuxp

He was convicted on the apparently coached testimony of two little boys and their mother. If that DNA evidence had not finally come to light, he would still be rotting in jail, appeal after appeal denied. Now think about this; if the Harris County DA's office will play so fast and loose with cases in which there is concrete evidence that proves the innocence of the defendant, how badly are they screwing over people in cases where there is no evidence of attack at all? What's to become of Carlos Coy, who has no hope of eventual exoneration because the crime he is accused of would not even have produced any DNA evidence? He has no hope for the chance discovery of exonerating evidence because there was no condemning evidence in the first place!
How could any juror during that time period (2001-2008) ever vote to convict, knowing the atrocious record of the Harris county Crime Lab? How can these cases be swept under the rug and ignored, even today?

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