Wrongly convicted man wins freedom after 26 years.

  1. http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/01/03/dna.exoneration.ap/index.html

    DALLAS, Texas (AP) -- -- A man imprisoned since 1981 for sexual assault was freed after a judge recommended overturning his conviction.
    Charles Chatman, 47, was released on his recognizance after serving nearly 27 years of a 99-year sentence. He was freed on the basis of new DNA testing that lawyers say proves his innocence and adds to Dallas County's nationally unmatched number of wrongfully convicted inmates.
    Chatman became the 15th inmate from Dallas County since 2001 to be freed by DNA testing. That is more than any other county nationwide, said Natalie Roetzel of the Innocence Project of Texas, an organization of volunteers who investigate claims of wrongful conviction.
    Texas leads the country in prisoners freed by DNA testing. Including Chatman, the state will have released at least 30 wrongfully convicted inmates since 2001, according to the Innocence Project.
    Before his Thursday morning hearing, Chatman said throughout his 26 years in prison that he never raped the woman who lived five houses down from him.
    "I'm bitter. I'm angry," Chatman told The Associated Press during what was his last night in jail Wednesday. "But I'm not angry or bitter to the point where I want to hurt anyone or get revenge."
    Mike Ware, who heads the Conviction Integrity Unit in the Dallas County District Attorney's office, said he expects more inmates to be proven innocent.
    One of the biggest reasons for the large number of exonerations in Texas is the crime lab used by Dallas County, which accounts for about half the state's DNA cases. Unlike many jurisdictions, the lab used by police and prosecutors retains biological evidence, meaning DNA testing is a viable option for decades-old crimes.
    District Attorney Craig Watkins also attributes the exonerations to a past culture of overly aggressive prosecutors seeking convictions at any cost.
    Chatman's nearly 27 years in prison for aggravated sexual assault make him the longest-serving inmate in Texas to be freed by DNA evidence, Innocence Project lawyers said.
    Chatman was 20 when the victim, a young woman in her 20s, picked him from a lineup. Chatman said he lived five houses down from the victim for 13 years but never knew her.
    At the time the woman was assaulted, Chatman said he didn't have any front teeth; he had been certain that feature would set him apart from the real assailant.
    "I'm not sure why he ended up on that photo spread to begin with," Ware said.
    Chatman, who was convicted in 1981 and sentenced to life in prison, said his faith kept him from giving up.
    Ware said Chatman would likely be released on a personal recognizance bond until the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals makes an official ruling. E-mail to a friend [​IMG]


    How horrible. He was 20 at the time. 20!!! He spent his young adult life behind bars. Even if he sues and wins, no amount can make up for this, IMO.
  2. The sad part is that there are likely many others like this person who don't belong in prison either.
  3. ITA!!! He should sue! His life went to waste:sad:
  4. It's so sad to hear of such wrongful convictions. It's scary how easy it is for a witness to be wrong, or for an innocent person to be coerced into a confession.
  5. I'm glad he finally won back his freedom. . . it's SO beyond sad.
    I saw a documentary about prisons and they said that even TX has a lot of deathrow inmates, they also have the most of these overturned convictions.
  6. I'm glad he got out.
  7. That's sad...I hope he manages to get his life together after this horrible experience.
  8. Im sure the only thing on his mind right now is that fact that he can taste freedom once again!!
  9. too bad it's SOOO freakin' cold here right now!

    But seriously, I think these guys never get justice, it's hard to unburden that label even once you're "cleared":cry:
  10. And, one of the worse things about these wrongly convicted men is that the real perp got away with it.

    I'd heard of one guy who was wrongly convicted sued and won a lot of money for it... they gave him 100.00 dollars for every day he sat behind bars. I know the money wasn't really compensation, but it did give him enough to make a new start.

    And yeah, it seems Texas has the most wrongful convictions, why is that?
  11. TX has the most wrongful convictions?
    I've never heard that, only know that we have the most overturned. . . meaning TX is re-evaluating and freeing more than any other state.

    I COMPLETELY Agree about the real perp getting away:cursing:
  12. Re-read my post. I said it SEEMS Texas has the most wrongful convictions. and you agree that you do have the most overturned.
  13. Ah, gotcha:tup:
    I guess I just don't understand why someone would think TX "seems" to have the most?
  14. Well, cuz they always are in the news about it! That's why! LOL!

    However, if you can point me to a website that breaks down the numbers, I'd be happy to make a whole new thread about it!! I think my homestate of California has the most illegals in prison, as well as the most drug dealers. But then, I could be wrong about that too!
  15. I think TX is in teh news about it a lot because of the bad rep of death row inmates since it's so strongly supported here. Kind of like putting a celeb in the news, KWIM?

    I could be WAAAY off! I haven't researched it at all, but had no idea people thought TX had more wrongful convictions than any other state.