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Monday, July 11, 2011

The Houston Crime Lab

I said I was going to post my letter to Pat Lykos today, but
something's come to my attention that I feel should be brought to

In a couple of posts, I have said there could be no DNA in Carlos
Coy's case; I simply assumed that if there had been, either the
prosecution or the defense would have insisted on using it. But what I
forgot is that we're dealing with Rosenthal's administration, here. They DIDN'T
NEED hard evidence to convict somebody; if they had DNA, it didn't
have to point towards the defendant. Prosecutors could say whatever the hell
they wanted about the evidence with NO personal repercussions when their lies came to light (if they ever did).

As you may know, in 2002, the Houston Crime Lab was shut down for
being a complete fucking mess. It did not re-open until 2006. At that
time, 4,000 untested rape kits were found sitting in a freezer.
 4,000. Untested. Some dating back to the 1990s.

They have barely made a dent in the backlog since then.


The child in the case Coy vs. Texas supposedly told her mother about
what had happened the morning after. Authorities were contacted.
Since she was a minor it seems very likely that a rape kit, including a vaginal swab, would
have been performed as a matter of standard procedure.

As far as we know, there was never any DNA evidence introduced at
trial; they relied completely on eyewitness identification which,
according to the New York Innocence Project, is responsible for 75% of
all wrongful convictions eventually overturned through DNA evidence.
So, assuming there was a rape kit done, was it shoved into a freezer
and forgotten about?

Was it simply ignored, because it didn't conform to police expectations?

Was the defense team even informed that there was DNA evidence
available for testing, or was it concealed by overzealous prosecutors, like
the exculpatory evidence that eventually freed Ricardo Rachell?

Despite the requirements of Brady, which states that the prosecutors
are required by law to turn over all potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense,
Harris County Prosecutors seem to prefer playing hide-and-seek.
"It's not our job to hold their hand" said Denise Oncken, one of the
prosecutors in Coy vs. Texas, in 2005.

Was the Coy kit one of the 200 that has already been tested?
If it was tested, why haven't we heard about it? I guess once they get you in those prison whites they just don't give a flying fuck about what happens to you. If it had been tested, and contained Coy's DNA, I imagine that they would have publicised it just to make a point about how well the system works.

That rape kit, if it exists, must be found and tested. If the girl was actually assaulted that night, it's possible she misidentified her attacker. The statute of limitations is running out, they need to get answers NOW. If the prosecutors are as sure about the case as they were then, there's no risk for them in expediting that test.

If the DNA exonerates him, as I firmly believe it will, he goes free; but it will never happen unless we make this public. Tell people, write to the DA, demand to know if there's a rape kit; if not, why not? If there is, why was it never tested? I mean, we know why it was not tested; in Chuck Rosenthal's Harris County, prosecutors didn't need DNA evidence, they could get a conviction based on little or no evidence. But that's not the way things should be run.

We deserve conclusive proof of guilt. If the DA's office can't provide it, they need to start re-trying, or freeing the innocent men who have been incarcerated to feed the machine.

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