Found Innocent, but Too Late

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Kos put this story on the front page over at the orange last night, so perhaps many of you have already seen it. But anything that makes me cry this early in the morning, well…I’ve gotta write about it.

From the Star Telegram:

AUSTIN – Twenty-two years ago, Ruby Session listened in disbelief as a Lubbock jury convicted her son, Timothy Cole, of rape. She promised herself that one day she would make sure this injustice was corrected.

“I always had faith and I just believed that it would one day happen,” Session said.

That day finally came Tuesday when, after years of efforts by Cole’s family and a relentless group of supporters, state District Judge Charles Baird issued the first posthumous DNA exoneration in Texas history.

“The evidence is crystal clear that Timothy Cole died in prison an innocent man and I find to 100 percent moral, legal and actual certainty that he did not commit the crime that he was convicted of,” Baird said.

Cole was convicted of aggravated sexual assault in 1986, after Michele Mallin identified him as the man who attacked her near Texas Tech University. Cole had always maintained his innocence.

In 1995, Jerry Wayne Johnson, who was serving two consecutive life sentences in prison for sexual assaults in Lubbock, admitted raping Mallin. Authorities ignored his confession until the Innocence Project of Texas took up the case in 2007. DNA tests in 2008 confirmed that Johnson was Mallin’s attacker.

Cole died in prison in 1999 at age 38 from complications of asthma.


The article goes on to talk about how the police made a “snap judgement” on Cole’s guilt and then literally ignored all evidence that would have exonerated him.  

We might continue to think this is just one of those “bad apple” cases in a system that is otherwise fair. But talk to just about any African American in this country and you’ll hear a different story. This system is literally killing their kids in so many different ways that the threat is never very far from their minds.

So thank the goddess once again for the work of the Innocence Project! I’m just so sorry that it was too late for Timothy. But this kind of thing shouldn’t be happening in the first place and until we’re ready to look at the ugly facts of the confluence of racism and the militarization of our fear, its not likely to stop.

If we ever decide as progressives that we really want to form a movement in this country and join forces with people of color in that effort, we’ll have to make it a priority to tackle this one issue. It’s that central to their lives every day.  


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  1. Photobucket

  2. We’d like to think that everybody who has been convicted actually did the crime for which s/he was convicted.  Then we find a case like this one, where an innocent person gets convicted and dies in prison.

    The problem is so very upsetting: we know that the next person who will be exonerated is sitting in a prison this very second.  S/he claims to be innocent; few if any people believe him/her.  The Courts sometimes find somebody who is innocent and cause that person to be released.  But how many die, or complete their entire sentences, and their innocence is never established?  Remember for each of these, the actual criminal has never been charged.

    And then we have this NY case in which it took 19 years for a court to see that the accused was innocent, and the court that found the case was the Second Circuit, meaning that the trial court twice, the appellate division twice, the NY court of appeals once, and the district court once all denied the claim and upheld the conviction before the Court of Appeals granted relief.

    You’d hope that the system didn’t work like that.  It’s a tragedy that it does.

  3. Someone is in heaven, now finally, after 13 years in hell.

    A mother`s trust in her son.

    She would appreciate the candle you put up.

    Her`s obviously has been burning for years.

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