Another pseudo-exoneration out of Texas; Manuel Velez walked out of prison last week after nine years on death row. He was convicted of murdering his girlfriend’s 11 month old son in 2005...although he was hundreds of miles away when the child received the injuries that lead to death.
The news stories revolve heavily around what appears to have been his incompetent defense; it’s repeatedly pointed out that his lawyer could have easily shown that the child was injured while Velez was out of state with just a cursory investigation. What I have yet to see is a reporter asking why, if his innocence was so easily proven, did the investigators not uncover it before the damn thing ever went to trial?
There’s no mention of some new technology that made this possible; the evidence appears to have been there all the time. Why didn’t the police find it? Why didn’t the D.A. find it? Was it unavailable, or simply ignored?
Legal representation matters, but how much damage should an attorney have to repair? Should he have to overcome a lost ‘outcry’ interview? Testimony that changes mid-trial because prosecutors didn’t verify details?