That's the title of Hilary Hylton's report for Time magazine. It's subtitled, "Once known for its harsh approach to criminal justice, the state is creating new avenues to reform--and exonerations." Here's the beginning:
For six Texans jailed in the 1990s, this season of thanks and cheer has become beyond joyous. Nineteen years after being charged with the sexual assault of two young girls, three women, now approaching middle age, emerged from the San Antonio county jail the week before Thanksgiving and, in a cascade of tears and laughter, fell into the arms of their families.
Days later, 63-year-old Fran Keller was released from prison after 21 years. When her ex-husband, Dan, 72, walked out of an Austin jail Dec. 5, she was waiting with open arms — the first time they had embraced since being convicted of sexually abusing children at their Austin day care center as part of satanic rituals in 1992.
The women, along with another on parole, and the Kellers have been professing their innocence in separate cases for almost two decades. Thanks to the nation’s first law recognizing advances in forensic science, they are out of prison with a chance at exoneration.
The San Antonio Four — Elizabeth Ramirez, now 39, Kristie Mayhugh, 40, Cassandra Rivera, 38 and Anna Vasquez, also 38 — are the first Texans to be released under a habeas corpus statute that took effect on September 1, allowing prisoners to seek release and a new trial if so-called “junk science” played a pivotal role in their conviction. Its enactment marks a sea change in a Texas penal system with a long-standing reputation for harsh, frontier justice.
Earlier coverage of the new Texas law and its impact begins at the link. Related posts are in the forensics category index.
As to the Keller case, Jordan Smith writes an excellent overview of the case in, "Freedom for the Kellers."