News related to issues and challenges specific to women in the criminal justice system.
“San Antonio 4” women proclaim their innocence after being released as a result of new Texas law concerning changes in forensic science.
The three remaining women of the “San Antonio 4” were released from prison on Monday, November 18 after spending more than 10 years in prison (the fourth women was paroled last year). The “San Antonio 4” were convicted of molesting two girls in a case with similarities to the controversial day care abuse cases that were in the news years ago. The four women have always maintained their innocence and received the right to a new trial because of a new law in Texas, Senate Bill 344. This law allows courts to grant defendants new trials in cases in which forensic science has evolved since the conviction. The two alleged victims’ trial transcripts contain inconsistencies, but, more importantly, the key medical witness’s testimony as to the timing of the alleged injury was cast into doubt by scientific advances. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will decide whether to grant them a new trial but the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney has indicated that he will decline to prosecute them. The women will now attempt to receive a declaration of actual innocence.
To read more about these women’s experience, see 'San Antonio 4' speak out after prison release: 'We're actually innocent' - U.S. News – blog NBC.NEWS
Nicole Harris exonerated in Illinois
June 17, 2013 - Cook County prosecutors dropped all charges against Nicole Harris, a client of the Center on Wrongful Convictions and Jenner & Block LLP who was convicted eight years ago of strangling her 4-year-old son, Jaquari Dancy, to death.
The Cook County medical examiner initially ruled the death accidental, but changed the cause to homicide after learning that Harris
had confessed on videotape. The confession, which Harris said was false and coerced, came after 27 hours of intermittent interrogation by detectives at Chicago Police Area 5 headquarters. The interrogation occurred two months before an Illinois law requiring police to record the entire custodial interrogation of murder suspects went into effect.
Although the recording equipment required by the new law was in place, detectives chose to record only Harris’s statement and nothing that preceded it. Harris’s exoneration is the 89th in Cook County since 1989, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, and the 33rd to have been wrongfully convicted based on an unreliable confession. More...
In the News
02/26/2014 Freed After Six Years, Woman Sues Cops Over Dog Scent Evidence, NBC News
02/21/2014 'Shaken baby syndrome' and the flawed science in our criminal courts, Washington Post
01/22/2014 Debra Milke update: Judge won't dismiss charge in son killing case, ABC15
01/19/2014 The road back from a wrongful conviction, Chicago Tribune
01/17/2014 Jury awards $800K to woman wrongfully imprisoned, SFGate01/16/2014 When will Kristine Bunch be free?, Indianapolis Monthly