Former Texas Attorney General and Governor Mark White, and former federal district judge and FBI Director William Session write the OpEd, "White, Sessions: Innocence commission needed in Texas," for today's Austin American-Statesman. Here's the beginning:
We applaud Texas Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson’s recent call for a special commission to investigate wrongful convictions in Texas. Over the past 25 years, at least 117 Texans spent years in jail for crimes they did not commit.
Just two examples are enough to convince us that such a commission is vital: Michael Morton, a grocery store manager convicted of killing his wife, spent 25 years in prison before DNA evidence exonerated him in 2011. Tim Cole, an army veteran convicted of rape, spent 14 years in prison, dying in 1999 after the real rapist confessed but before DNA established his innocence.
The exact number of Texans wrongfully convicted is likely much higher. The Texas Legislature must find out how and why these wrongful convictions occurred, to minimize their risk in the future, and to restore public faith in the legal system, which is undermined every time a person is wrongly convicted in our great state.
In his biennial address to the Legislature, the chief justice called for the establishment of an innocence commission to investigate each instance of exoneration, assess the likelihood of wrongful convictions in future cases and establish statewide reforms.
Earlier coverge of the Texas Innocence Commission proposal begins at the link.