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Another DNA Exoneration

There’s been another DNA exoneration in Harris County. It seems like every other day I hear about a new exoneration.


I just finished reading an August 7, 2009 front page Houston Chronicle article entitled “Inmate Expected to be Freed While DNA Reviewed,” by Brian Rogers. The article is about a guy named Ernest Sonnier who was sentenced to Life in prison for a 1985 aggravated kidnapping and rape. Recent DNA testing proved that two other individuals with profiles in the DNA felon database committed the crime.


Mr. Sonnier hasn’t officially been exonerated but the D.A’s office hasn’t opposed his release — a cue that he will certainly be officially exonerated soon. Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, made an interesting point in this article when he said Houston is “ground zero” of the epidemic of flawed forensic science, and concerning the Sonnier case added:

“This case is the latest in a well documented and disturbing pattern of analysts making misleading interpretations to support the prosecutors case and explain away evidence that defendants may be innocent.


”Guess who the lead prosecutor on the Sonnier case was? The most treacherous and now dethroned Chuck Rosenthal. Yes, the same Chuck Rosenthal who prosecuted my case and helped send me to Death Row. At my trial Rosenthal and his team of prosecutors and “experts” unleashed a barrage of misleading interpretations, double-speak and outright lies in order to secure my conviction and sentence.


Rosenthal prosecuted the Ernest Sonnier case in 1986. He prosecuted my case in 2001-2002. Rosenthal was forced out of office last year (2008) because of his criminal activity. How many other innocent people did Chuck Rosenthal help send to prison or Death Row between 1986-2008? How many more exonerations will it take before people really start to realize that the criminal “justice” system in Harris County is severely flawed and has been severely flawed for decades?


If Ernest Sonnier would of had a rape-murder case and been sent to Death Row, he almost surely would have been executed by now. How can anyone continue to support the Death Penalty when the system that sentences people to death has proven time and time again to be so severely faulty and abundantly rife with error?

R.

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