Wrongful Convictions in Texas are Not Unusual

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Roger G. Jain

It seems like something out of a movie. A man wrongfully accused and sent to prison for a murder he did not commit. An innocent life behind bars, writing letters to anyone who could help him. Nearly a decade later, he is freed after DNA evidence emerges. But now, his life is unrecognizable after nearly 10 years in jail. Sadly, this is not a Hollywood movie — this is real life and it happens more often than you realize.

In 2010, Lyndell Grant was convicted of the fatal stabbing of a man outside a Houston bar. He spent the next nine years of his life writing letters to defense attorneys and legal teams to help exonerate him. In 2019, the Innocence Project of Texas uncovered emerging DNA technology to collect evidence that the wrong man was behind bars. Prosecutors re-examined the DNA removed from the fingernails of the victim. They found that Grant was not the one responsible for the murder. Instead, the DNA pointed to another suspect, Jermarico Carter of Atlanta. He then confessed to the murder and publicly apologized to Grant.

The Harris County District Attorney supported a request for bond and Grant was freed. However, he was not exonerated and therefore cannot start his life over again. It has been nearly nine months, and he still cannot get a job or move forward in his life. State officials say the reason for this delay is because of their overwhelming caseload combined with the recent coronavirus outbreak.

Innocent Lives Behind Bars

This is hardly the only case of an innocent man in Texas being sent to prison. Some estimate that there are thousands of inmates in Texas prisons that are innocent. In fact, according to the Innocence Project of Texas, an estimated 5,640 people are locked up behind bars for crimes they did not commit. This is more than 4 percent of the people currently incarcerated in the state.

How do innocent people end up in jail? Innocent men and women can get railroaded for crimes they did not commit for many reasons. Maybe they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps witnesses lied or simply identified the wrong person. Even worse, police and other officials may have planted evidence or changed their story to help expedite the closure of a case.

Research conducted by the American University identified several predictors that could explain why some people end up convicted for crimes they did not commit. Those include: Young defendants, Criminal history, Weak defense, Prosecution that withheld evidence, Lying by non-eyewitness, Unintentional witness misidentification, Misinterpreting forensic evidence at trial, Punitive state culture.

Criminal Defense Matters

A weak defense is one of the main reasons why innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit. For this reason, it is important to obtain an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney from the very start. Immediately after you are arrested and charged with a crime, it is important to call a law firm. Do not speak to the police or to interrogators without your lawyer present. They can use anything you say against you and they are skilled in twisting words around to show guilt. Always have your lawyer present before you answer any questions.

Since your freedom and your future rest largely on your defense strategy, it is important to take the time to find an attorney with extensive experience representing individuals like yourself. This is too important to go at it alone. Unfortunately, many innocent people fail to get legal assistance quickly because they believe they do not need it. After all — they didn’t do this crime. However, this is the wrong choice. Without a skilled and aggressive criminal defense lawyer on your side, you may find yourself facing serious consequences for crimes you did not commit.

Call Our Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers Immediately

After your arrest, you need a lawyer you can trust. At Roger G. Jain & Associates, P.C., our Houston criminal defense lawyers will investigate your case from top to bottom. We will find the facts to help prove your innocence and get the charges dismissed. We know how to tackle and navigate the complex legal process in Texas, and we fight aggressively for our clients every step of the way. Call us today at 713-981-0600 or fill out our confidential contact form. We are here to help!