Another Exoneration in Dallas

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

At a hearing tomorrow, Dallas County, Texas officials are expected to announce that DNA evidence has cleared Johnnie Earl Lindsey of a rape for which he has served 26 years in prison.  Lindsey would become the 20th person exonerated in Dallas County, where District Attorney Craig Watkins (see my interview with him here) is actively working with innocence activists to seek out and overturn wrongful convictions.

Watkins also recently announced that his office will now take a look at all pending death row cases originating in Dallas County.  Dallas-area journalist Trey Garrison notes that Watkins’ announcement triggered this curious reaction from a former prosecutor:

Toby Shook, who sent several people to death row while he was a Dallas County prosecutor, said Mr. Watkins was imposing an unnecessary new level of review and a hardship on victims’ families.

"Perhaps he hasn’t thought this through, but essentially what he’s saying is, ‘There is one more court of appeal and that’s me,’ " said Mr. Shook, who was defeated by Mr. Watkins two years ago. "That’s going to be devastating to a [victim's] family." 

 

Perhaps.  But I would hope the families of murder victims would prefer that the correct person be executed for the crime, not just any person.

 

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17 Responses to “Another Exoneration in Dallas”

  1. #1 |  Danny | 

    “Perhaps. But I would hope the families of murder victims would prefer that the correct person be executed for the crime, not just any person.”

    Yes, please.

  2. #2 |  Danny | 

    Oh, and this guy better not have to worry about another thing as long as he lives. He deserves all of the income of that prosecutor for all the time he was serving time for the failure of the system and the attitude of the prosecutor to just make somebody pay, instead of the right one.

  3. #3 |  SJE | 

    The law and order folks should be happy. Clearing a wrongly convicted man allows them to seek out and prosecute the real criminal. Oh….right…that presumes that the prosecutor is actually interested in justice….

  4. #4 |  Salvo | 

    You would hope that would be the case, but I suspect you would be wrong. These cases are about revenge, on somebody, anybody, rather than justice. If it was about justice, the death penalty would have been phased out years ago, thanks to its untenability.

  5. #5 |  Ginger Dan | 

    Craig Watkins is a real American hero. I wonder if he has any aspirations beyond Texas? Might make a nice pick for a seat on a Federal Bench somewhere.

  6. #6 |  qnunc | 

    Johnnie Earl Lindsey was exonerated after serving 26 years for rape. . . Isn’t that WAY too long for rape? It’s not like he was smoking pot.

  7. #7 |  Ken’s Weblog » Blog Archive » And another isolated incident | 

    [...] Another Exoneration in Dallas. [...]

  8. #8 |  Jim | 

    Those comments from the prosecutor truly sicken me. They almost appear Niphong-esqe in nature.

  9. #9 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Toby Shook is nervous that he may end up as a lamppost ornament. But he needn’t worry about the sheeple.

  10. #10 |  DNA clears Dallas man after 26 years in prison | 

    [...] According to http://www.theagitator.com/2008/09/18/another-exoneration-in-dallas-2/ [...]

  11. #11 |  Stephen | 

    Anybody have any idea what percent of his available time/resources he is investing in exonerating innocent people?

    I would be OK with up to 10%. He is a prosecutor after all, mostly he should be prosecuting new lawbreakers.

    There is at least one talk show host heard here in Dallas that seems to think that he should be using 0.00%. I would love to be able to call him up and argue that he is wrong.

  12. #12 |  MacK | 

    “That’s going to be devastating to a [victim's] family.”

    I believe Mr. Shook has misspoken here, what he meant to say was:

    “That’s going to be devastating to my running for Dallas County prosecutor again.”

    Stephen I wonder if you were an innocent person on death row, would 10% be enough for you then?

  13. #13 |  Larry Yudelson | 

    Since Conservatives divide the world into good guys and bad guys, they don’t care which bad guy gets killed for which crime. As long as some bad guy is killed, all the bad guys will behave, or something.

    In my new book, How Would God REALLY Vote: A Jewish Rebuttal to David Klinghoffer’s Conservative Polemic, I marvel at how Klinghoffer condemns the Innocence Project as un-Biblical. Typical of the Religious Right, Klinghoffer doesn’t actually prove that it’s un-Biblical to save the lives of innocent men, he just asserts it. Presumably the logic is that if liberals are for freeing innocents, than the Bible must be against it.

  14. #14 |  Z | 

    Of course Dallas County is an isolated incident. No reason to believe that the other 255 counties in the nation have sent innocent people to jail or death row, right?

  15. #15 |  Stephen | 

    “Stephen I wonder if you were an innocent person on death row, would 10% be enough for you then?”

    10% seems to be a lot better than anyone else is doing. The guy on the radio yesterday was arguing that he shouldn’t be doing it at all on the theory that it wasn’t his job. I don’t agree with the talk show host.

    My main point that I wanted to argue is that in reality it probably takes very little away from his job as a prosecutor to support the innocence project. I bet the main part he plays as prosecutor is just not standing in the way.

  16. #16 |  DNA exonerates man convicted of rape after serving 26 years in prison. | The Unspun Zone | 

    [...] Radley Balko points out the Dallas County District Attorney is going to start looking into all pending death row [...]

  17. #17 |  MacK | 

    “My main point that I wanted to argue is that in reality it probably takes very little away from his job as a prosecutor to support the innocence project. I bet the main part he plays as prosecutor is just not standing in the way.”

    Yes I can very easily agree with that argument.
    I’m sure he has plenty of help and time to prosecute the 10 to 15 pot heads a day the county gets, and still work on finding the faults of the prior prosecutors.

    I’d bet he would be able to devote even more time if it were not for all those evil dope smokers.

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