That's the title of a lengthy examination of wrongful convictions in the current Dallas Observer. It's subtitled, "On the trail for justice with Texas' exonerees," and is written by Leslie Minora. Here's the beginning of this must-read:
The outcome was already determined, the stories already written, but the cameras and the recorders were out anyway, waiting for the judge to say the words. He was about to declare Richard Miles actually, technically, legally innocent of a 1994 murder, a shooting at a Texaco station near Bachman Lake. A higher court had already declared him innocent. There was nothing left to do but a little criminal-justice theater.
The reporters in attendance wondered what would make this day's story unique among the wave of stories about innocent prisoners. Miles was about to provide their answer.
A thin man with a strong jawline and determined face, Miles listened to the judge's apology and then, before he addressed the crowd, leaned toward his lawyer.
"Can we hit them with a bomb?" he asked. "Is it a good time to hit them with a bomb?"
"Richard, you're a free man," he remembers his lawyer saying. "You can say whatever you want to say."
He stood, encircled by reporters. After some thank yous, he lit the fuse: "I want to say that me and my lawyer, Cheryl Wattley, we'll make a formal complaint against Thomas D'Amore for prosecutorial misconduct," Miles said, referring to the lawyer who prosecuted him. "My life was taken because of malicious acts by a prosecutor. I can't just let that go by."
As he spoke, several of the 33 innocent men freed in recent years by Dallas County watched from the gallery, dressed as if for mass. At least seven of their cases had contained "official misconduct," mostly exculpatory evidence that wasn't disclosed to defense lawyers, according to Michigan and Northwestern University's National Registry of Exonerations. Misconduct contributes to 42 percent of exoneration cases nationally, those researchers say.
It's a problem that's had a particularly profound effect in Texas. In 91 criminal cases between 2004 and 2008, Texas courts found that prosecutors withheld evidence, made improper arguments or committed other misconduct, according to a report by Veritas Initiative, part of a national Prosecutorial Oversight coalition. But only one prosecutor was disciplined in that time period by the State Bar of Texas. (His license was suspended for two years.)