Texas man cleared by DNA after 30 years in prison declared innocent by judge

Started by blackmanxxx, Jan 04, 2011, 03:59 PM

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Texas man cleared by DNA after 30 years in prison declared innocent by judge

By Jeff Carlton, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press - Tue, 4 Jan 1:46 PM ESTShareretweetEmailPrintRelated ContentEnlarge Photo**CORRECTS YEAR TO 2011** Cornelius Dupree Jr., left, raises his hand to testify ...
DALLAS - A Texas man declared innocent Tuesday after 30 years in prison could have cut short his prison stint twice and made parole -- if only he would admit he was a sex offender.

But Cornelius Dupree Jr. refused to do so, doggedly maintaining his innocence in a 1979 rape and robbery, in the process serving more time for a crime he didn't commit than any other Texas inmate exonerated by DNA evidence.

"Whatever your truth is, you have to stick with it," Dupree, 51, said Tuesday, minutes after a Dallas judge overturned his conviction.

Nationally, only two others exonerated by DNA evidence spent more time in prison, according to the Innocence Project, a New York legal centre that specializes in wrongful conviction cases and represented Dupree. James Bain was wrongly imprisoned for 35 years in Florida, and Lawrence McKinney spent more than 31 years in a Tennessee prison.

Dupree was sentenced to 75 years in prison in 1980 for the rape and robbery of a 26-year-old Dallas woman a year earlier. He was released in July on mandatory supervision, and lived under house arrest until October. About a week after his release, DNA test results came back proving his innocence in the sexual assault.

A day after his release, Dupree married his fiancee, Selma. The couple met two decades ago while he was in prison.

His exoneration hearing was delayed until Tuesday while authorities retested the DNA and made sure it was a match to the victim. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins supported Dupree's innocence claim.

Looking fit and trim in a dark suit, Dupree stood through most of the short hearing, until state district Judge Don Adams told him, "You're free to go." One of Dupree's lawyers, Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck, called it "a glorious day."

"It's a joy to be free again," Dupree said.

This latest wait was nothing for Dupree, who was up for parole as recently as 2004. He was set to be released and thought he was going home, until he learned he first would have to attend a sex offender treatment program.

Those in the program had to go through what is known as the "four R's." They are recognition, remorse, restitution and resolution, said Jim Shoemaker, who served two years with Dupree in the Boyd Unit south of Dallas.

"He couldn't get past the first part," said Shoemaker, who drove up from Houston to attend Dupree's hearing.

Shoemaker said he spent years talking to Dupree in the prison recreation yard, and always believed his innocence.

"I got a lot of flak from the guys on the block," Shoemaker said. "But I always believed him. He has a quiet, peaceful demeanour."

Under Texas compensation laws for the wrongly imprisoned, Dupree is eligible for $80,000 for each year he was behind bars, plus a lifetime annuity. He could receive $2.4 million in a lump sum that is not subject to federal income tax.

The compensation law, the nation's most generous, was passed in 2009 by the Texas Legislature after dozens of wrongly convicted men were released from prison. Texas has freed 41 wrongly convicted inmates through DNA since 2001 -- more than any other state.

Dallas County's record of DNA exonerations -- Dupree is No. 21 -- is unmatched nationally because the county crime lab maintains biological evidence even decades after a conviction, leaving samples available to test. In addition, Watkins, the DA, has co-operated with innocence groups in reviewing hundreds of requests by inmates for DNA testing.

Watkins, the first black district attorney in Texas history, has also pointed to what he calls "a convict-at-all-costs mentality" that he says permeated his office before he arrived in 2007.

At least a dozen other exonerated former inmates from the Dallas area who collectively served more than 100 years in prison upheld a local tradition by attending the hearing and welcoming the newest member of their unfortunate fraternity. One of them, James Giles, presented Dupree with a $100 bill as a way to get his life restarted.



You may sleep soundly at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence upon those who seek to harm you.


He could receive $2.4 million in a lump sum

hopefully he asks for silver or gold of equal value instead-then takes it overseas for storage.

  if he comes outta there and says he has no hard feelings-like i have seen in the past-i am gonna quit the fra and mra movement all together.


The compensation law, the nation's most generous, was passed in 2009 by the Texas Legislature after dozens of wrongly convicted men were released from prison. Texas has freed 41 wrongly convicted inmates through DNA since 2001 -- more than any other state.

How many innocent men have they executed?
In 95% of things 100% of people are alike. It's the other 5%, the bits that are different, that make us interesting. It's also the key to our existence, and future, as a species.

The Biscuit Queen

The 4 R treatment program requires you detail your 'crime' in writing before continuing on to the rest of the therapy using "I did this" phrasing. If you plea bargained to avoid the possibility of jail for a false accusation you still need to do this, even if you really did not commit the crime. It is degrading and self-incriminating.

The man I knew who went throught the treatment said he had no issue saying it as "If a person did this, it would make the victim feel", or "I was acused of..."  but the councelor said it had to be a first person confession in order to be effective. He was on the fence whether to return to the jail where he witnessed a brutal rape or finish the program. It was that bad.
he Biscuit Queen

There are always two extremes....the truth lies in the middle.


BQ--it is the same with the anger mangement proram's that the indurty advertizes as "help for men".

none of the questions are - "if's"--they are all ,"i abused my partned by doing....."

Captain Courageous

I'd love to see an N.P.O. formed for and staffed by guys like Dupree.

I would donate my money to that cause any day.

Cordell Walker

watkins is an exception among dallas politicians
as dyed in the wool of a "fuck you Im from Texas" kinda guy I am, I cant make any excuses for our criminal justice system, which is larger than most nation's and in many ways is pretty foul, or at least can be.
On one hand, Texas courts dont seem to be as "trigger happy" with the three strikes/habitual laws as say, california, and self defense/defense of property shootings are almost never prosecuted, non-violent felons who complete their terms get their rights re-instated, unlike man if not most states( in texas, a past criminal history doesnt prevent you from voting, owning a firearm, working for state or local governments, or even holding local offices), also it seems that ex cons dont have as hard of a time getting jobs here as in other places. On the other hand, it seems like there are a disproportionate amount of men here who are falsely convicted by overzealous prosecuters and serve 10,20, even thirty years for something they didnt do. Recently it was found out that this guy who was executed for burning his daughters up in a fire, was really innocent. add that to guys like dupree, and Kerry maxe cook, who spent 20something years on death row for a crime he didnt commit, the travesty of justice that happened in tulia, the false imprisonment of that woman whom alfrae woodard played in that movie, the fake drug scandal in dallas, numerous police shootings, and countless other abuses........you got a badly broken system.
After Karla Faye tucker was executed, Chris Rock made a joke in one of his stand-ups, saying "I aint fuckin around in Texas, those motherfuckers even execute good lookin  white women, I know my black ass dont stand a chance"
"how can you kill women and children?"---private joker
"Easy, ya just dont lead em as much" ---Animal Mother

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