January 4, 2011

Another Texan joins growing club of exonerees

30 years in prison for rape he did not commit

He could have been free six years ago. But he could not get past even the first of the sex offender treatment program's "four R’s" -- Recognition, Remorse, Restitution and Resolution.

Instead, Cornelius Dupree Jr. continued to stubbornly insist he was innocent of the robbery and rape for which he went to prison 30 years ago.

Today, Dupree finally won back his good name, becoming the latest in a flood of exonerated convicts in Dallas, Texas. District Attorney Craig Watkins, the first African American elected prosecutor of any county in the state, actively supports innocence projects. Like Dupree, the majority of the exonerated men are African American and were convicted of sexual assaults.

By local tradition, many of the other exonerated men attended Dupree's court hearing on Tuesday. Many said they too had been convicted based on eyewitness misidentification, the most common cause of wrongful convictions.

The moral: Do not assume that someone who has been convicted of a crime is lying, just because he or she is denying guilt. Every once in a while, it's true.

An Associated Press article with more case details is HERE.
The Dallas Morning News has an excellent series on the DNA exonerations, HERE.