I was going through my files and found an old story about Larry Sims, a man who was released after serving 24 years in prison for rape. Prosecutors improperly withheld evidence from his defense;
“Recently discovered DNA evidence seems to indicate that the woman who said Sims raped her lied about the case when she claimed she did not have sex earlier with Sims’ cousin Gerald Harding. DNA found on her sanitary napkin was a match to that man.
Decades ago, the cousin testified at Sims’ trial that he and the woman had consensual sex.
With the woman’s testimony now in doubt, a judge decided Wednesday to free Sims.”
He received his freedom, an apology from a judge, and prosecutors dismissed the charges against him. He died last year, still waiting for the state to fully exonerate him.
This whole situation is fucking tragic; he was freed because the prosecutors hid physical evidence from his defense, but it appears that charges were dropped because the DNA proved that his accuser had lied, not because it was enough to prove that he hadn’t committed the rape. In Texas, just because the state can’t prove you committed a crime doesn’t mean you have enough to prove your innocence; but I digress.
In a few of his letters, Carlos Coy has talked about how the testimony against him changed; things like Mary Doe’s apparent inability to commit to a memory that didn’t support the State’s case. The prosecutors saw how the evidence they were using twisted and turned, based on variations in the child’s story; did they have any responsibility to inform the jury that the testimony presented was malleable, and changed from one day to the next?
Larry Sims’ case was overturned after 24 years, when prosecutorial misconduct and a lying plaintiff were exposed. However tragic the ending, it gives me hope that we’ll eventually see the same light shine over Coy vs Texas.