Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Innocent Texas Man Free After 27 Years

From the Associated Press:

DALLAS - A man who spent more than 27 years in Texas prisons for a murder he didn't commit is free thanks to DNA test results that clear him of a 1980 murder.

James Lee Woodard walked free Tuesday.

The good news is that Woodard is free. The bad news is that he spent 27 years of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit. Justice Texas style. In truth, justice all over the country and all over the world.

Thank God for science. Thank God for DNA testing.


  1. Grandmere, the good news is that the State of Texas didn't do this time what it has done so often, and execute the man before he was exonerated.

    We don't have the death penalty here. In the last 15 years, there have been (I think) five cases where murder convictions were overturned on new evidence, and men who had spent decades in prison were freed. Mistakes were made, but thank God, they weren't entirely irreversible.

  2. Kate, Woodard was not on death row. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but I'm sure that more than a few innocent people lie in their graves because DNA tests were not available to prove their innocence.

  3. (De-lurking)
    He was lucky -- had he been on Death Row, he would have been dead already. Texas executes more people by far (both per capita and overall) than any other state.

    One of my decisions to strongly oppose GW Bush in 2000 (beyond simply he was a Republican : ) ) was his stance on the death penalty in Texas. Even though there had been demonstrated problems with death penalty cases in Texas, and Texas under GWB tried to execute mentally retarded prisoners, he claimed that there were nothing wrong with the Texas system and that there was no chance an innocent person would not be executed. I figured he was either too stupid to be president, or willing to play politics with people's lives and therefore to amoral and possibly sociopathic to be president. After seven years, I think the answer is actually "both of the above."

    Sorry to go on a bit, but death penalty jurisprudence is a thing with me.

  4. Pat, you're absolutely right. Woodard would be dead. Was it 152 executions that Bush signed off on? He was aided and abetted by his pal Alberto Gonzales with his summaries and recommendations.

    Thanks for de-lurking.

  5. Well, what we do here in Texas is we just lock everybody up and if we feel like it we let them out.

    Texas is bad but there are pockets (Williamson County) which are absolutely criminal.


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