I want to bring to your attention this post by Grits For Breakfast; he’s talking about DNA exonerations and what it means for those who cannot be exonerated by it because there was no DNA evidence collected.
“Obviously, even the lowest of those estimates far exceeds the number of DNA exonerations. If just .75% of inmates in Texas prisons are actually innocent, that would translate to nearly 1,200 people currently incarcerated in Texas prisons for crimes they did not commit, though the real number could obviously be even higher. In the overwhelming majority of those cases there is and never will be DNA evidence available to prove their innocence.”
If there was a way to argue Coy’s case without talking about the behavior of those who convicted him or the circumstances of his trial, I would go for that. It’d be easier to say, “test the evidence” than it is to point out inconsistencies in testimony against him, the behavior and histories of the prosecutors, and the general unreliability of the ‘science’ brought to bear against him.
But in Coy’s case, as in so many others, there was no hard evidence collected. Nothing to test. Which means we have a case so weak, that the prosecutors tried to get him to plea out. Five years for a man they claimed was ‘so vicious, so predatory,’ but, when it came to trial, they tried to get him a life sentence.
Our job, as the “low-hanging fruit” of DNA exonerations is cleared out, is to keep reminding the public that most crimes do not yield DNA, but that doesn’t decrease the likelihood of a false conviction.