"Kristopher Moore, one of Allen's attorneys, said the ruling should send a message to Combs that the state's top financial officer is not qualified to interpret criminal law."
Billy Frederick Allen spent 26 years in prison for two murders. The police testified in court that before one of the victims died, he said the name of his killer was “Billy Allen”. However, after the trial(why do they always investigate this shit after it’s too late?), it was discovered that one of the paramedics remembered him saying “Billy WAYNE Allen, who was another person of interest in the case. The other paramedic remembered that he said three names, but couldn’t remember the middle one.
But hey, two out of three is good enough for government work. So Allen goes to prison until 2009, when the CCA admits that, yeah, if he probably would not have been convicted if all the evidence had been included in his defense. They didn’t say he was innocent, but that his trial was bad. The prosecutor decided not to re-try the case, and Allen asked the state for compensation for the years he spent in prison because of this bad conviction.
“WHAT THE FUCK?” Says the state Comptroller’s office. “We let your ass out of prison because your lawyers sucked, NOT BECAUSE YOU’RE INNOCENT. We're not giving you shit!”
^(I’m dramatizing a bit here)
This does not seem that complicated; your trial gets overturned, and everything gets reset to the way it was before; you are presumed innocent. If the prosecution decides that they can’t win another case against you, you remain innocent, retroactive to when the first trial began. The state kept an innocent man in prison for 26 years in this case, and it seems like there should be some responsibility taken for it.
If the Comptroller is so worried about giving money to men who might be guilty, maybe they should get with the DA’s office and suggest that, if a solid case can’t be built, don’t take it to court. If you wouldn’t convict your grandmother with this evidence, then don’t convict someone else’s son with it.
Surprisingly, the Texas Supreme Court agreed that the Comptroller should not be the arbiter of which of Texas’ citizens are guilty or not, and told her to pay the man for his time.
I believe this another sign of the changing attitudes toward the criminal justice system; even if you have no DNA evidence, even if the state won't give you a piece of paper admitting it, you can be convicted, and still innocent. It gives me hope because Carlos Coy's case is going to have to be overturned on the trial. Since no hard evidence was used to convict him, it can't exonerate him. We must rely on TDCJ to show a little common sense which, until recently, seemed impossible.