Posted by: Martin Fox | July 3, 2008

When justice is not so just

By Martin Fox with The Center for Global Leadership and The Higher Road Initiative

Patrick Waller was exonerated today by DNA testing (that’s the justice part). He is free after serving 15 years in prison, wrongly convicted of kidnapping and robbery.

The “not so just” part of the equation… Patrick Waller requested a DNA test in 2001 (denied by former DA and also a Judge). Waller again requested DNA testing in 2005 (again denied by the former DA).

Was this an isolated instance? It would appear not. Waller is the 19th man in Dallas County since 2001 to be exonerated by DNA testing (more than any other county in the nation).

More than any county in the nation? Hey former Dallas County DA… what the heck was going on? Why would you deny a request for DNA testing? We know there are two sides to every story, but the one side shown here doesn’t look so great on the justice/human rights front. A man spent 15 years in prison wrongly convicted and you didn’t even give him a chance to prove his innocence. Wow…

Closing on a happy note (the blog theme of the day)… Craig Watkins, the new Dallas County DA who approved WallersDNA request, has started a program with law students (supervised by the Innocence Project of Texas) to review old cases in which inmates have requested DNA testing. Go Craig Watkins (just named to our inspired people list).

Now… How much does Patrick Waller deserve from Dallas County in exchange for 15 years of his life? I hope the settlement has a lot of zeroes before the decimal point.

Thank goodness for Craig Watkins, DNA testing, law students, and The Innocence Project of Texas.

Happy 4th of July – Let freedom ring.

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Responses

  1. I too always wonder how an accurate price can be figured when compensating a person for years wrongly stolen from their life. To properly envision this, my mind takes me back to 9th grade when the Iran Hostage Crisis was taking place and one of our teachers kept track of the days on the blackboard (it ended up being 444 days total in the end) One day he asked each of us to think back to all of the many things, both trivial and momentous, that had occurred in our own individual lives during the amount of days he had written on the blackboard and pretend that each had simply never taken place. I never forgot that and it’s what I return to each time I hear stories such as Patrick Waller’s. If I erased everything that had happend in the past 15 years a large chunk of myself would not exist. Wow. I wonder if this keeps the former Dallas DA awake nights. I


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