exonerations | KERA News

exonerations

Chris Scott spent 13 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit.

Before his time in jail, he led a quiet, domestic life with his two sons and his girlfriend.

Then his life became a nightmare. Scott constantly worried for his safety. He learned to cope in prison, but he knew he had to stay out of trouble, because if his innocence was proved, he wanted to be able to walk free.

Paul Moseley / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

John Nolley always insisted he didn't kill his friend. He spent nearly 19 years locked up for the gruesome murder. Then, a judge released him from prison, citing evidence that undermined the jailhouse informant who testified against him – evidence never given to his lawyers during the trial.

Harris County Leads Nation In Number Of Exonerations, Study Finds

Mar 7, 2017
Rob Crow / For The Texas Tribune

A new study has found that Harris County leads the country in exonerations, turning loose 48 people in 2016 alone. That's because its crime labs take an added precaution most others don't: testing the materials seized from drug defendants even after they enter guilty pleas.

Rob Crow / The Texas Tribune

Five stories that have North Texas talking: WHO is worried about Zika virus; Texas’ rent is higher than the U.S. average; UT Arlington’s stadium is eco-friendly; and more.

 

Sarah Lim / NPR

Richard Miles remembers when his trial began in Dallas County District Court. It was 1995, and he was barely 20 years old. He thought for sure it’d be the day wrongful charges against him for murder and attempted murder would be thrown out. 

Shutterstock

In 1987, Michael Morton was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife – a crime he didn’t commit. He served 25 years before having his conviction overturned. Monday on Think, he told Krys Boyd that for many of those years, his life was ruled by resentment and thoughts of revenge.

David Alvarado / "Freedom Fighters"

Filmmaker Jamie Meltzer thought he’d just go check out a Dallas meeting for prison exonerees last February. He’d heard a group of freed inmates had started a detective agency, which sounded like pretty good film fodder. Meltzer showed up, met the guys and started shooting that day.

“I came down to evaluate the idea and I was just hooked from the get-go,” says Meltzer, who now is about a year into filming “Freedom Fighters.” Meltzer's team includes Michael May, who has a story on the detective agency on All Things Considered today.

UPDATE: In his State of the Judiciary address today, Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson said the state should fund a program to look into wrongful convictions. It's an idea that has a lot of resonance in North Texas where Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins spent his early years on the job working on exonerations.

Two wrongfully convicted men sentenced to life for rape and attempted murder will start the formal process of regaining their freedom this morning. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports prosecutors say they’ve also identified the real suspects.

Neil R (cc) flickr

The fate of the Texas primaries remains in limbo after neither the state nor minority rights groups appeared to budge during a weekend of court-ordered negotiations.