Wednesday, August 22, 2012
David Lee Wiggins
David Lee Wiggins was convicted of breaking into the home of a 14 year-old girl and raping her back in 1988. She picked him out of a photo line-up, then a live line-up. He was convicted in 1989, and sentenced to life in prison. In 2007 his attorney got the DA’s office to agree to testing, “but a nationally recognized laboratory "issued three reports with mixed results”, whatever the fuck that means. Finally, the Innocence Project got involved and sent the DNA to a laboratory in California, which announced, on August 9th, that Wiggins was not the rapist.
23 years of this man’s life, gone like a puff of smoke. A victim, who never got justice in the first place, is now forced to accept that her testimony put an innocent behind bars.
Where’s the real rapist? Well, no one knows; probably out raping more little girls, because once the wrong guy was locked up, everyone quit looking.
This assault happened; there was DNA evidence left behind, and a victim old enough, one would think, to reliably identify her attacker, but still the wrong man was sent to prison. We shake our heads and say, “Well, thank God we figured it out eventually! Hurray for DNA testing!”, but who’s asking “How many men have been imprisoned with the same methods, without even the slim chance of exoneration that DNA offers?” If a man can be imprisoned in a case where evidence is disregarded, how many more are locked away when there is no evidence at all? No proof that an assault even occurred?
Dallas is making an effort to identify and free men who can prove their innocence. They've made a great start, and I hope very much it will be followed by an earnest look at those who can’t prove it, and never got the benefit of being presumed innocent.