In Texas counties, we elect our county commissioners, district attorneys, and judges for the most part.
The truth is, few people have any idea about the people they are voting for at the local level. Most candidates are selected by party insiders with little visibility (both parties) as the general public is not involved. Then, because most of us vote straight party ticket, we just approve the candidates selected by insiders.
This means the public has little impact so these judges, prosecutors, local attorneys, local party insiders, and commissioners are loyal to each other, not the public. They support each other and make decisions which increase money flow to the counties to support their positions, all taxpayer money. They plunder our families.
If you ever wondered why we have so many people in prison exonerated, or so many bizarre civil case results, wonder no more. Just understand who benefits.
David Lee Wiggins from Ft. Worth in Tarrant County spent 24 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. DNA evidence showed that David Lee Wiggins did not commit the rape that he was convicted of more than two decades ago.
Wiggins was sent to jail in 1989 for supposedly raping a 14-year-old girl in June 1988. The victim had her face covered with a towel but still identified Mr. Wiggins as the rapist. Mr. Wiggins always vigorously maintained his innocence and in fact, filed a motion for DNA testing prior to the trial. This motion was denied and it is hard to understand the actions of the Tarrant County district attorney who instructed the judge to deny the motion or those of the Tarrant County judge who denied it. Mr. Wiggins was sentenced for life.
Permission to test for DNA was finally granted and Mr. Wiggins was exonerated. Because of the actions of that Tarrant County district attorney and judge, a rapist remained free, perhaps to strike again.
By now, rational, informed people know something is wrong with our criminal justice system. The exonerations we see in Dallas are from DNA analysis. When we realize that few DNA analyses were allowed, and that the majority of convictions do not involve DNA and so cannot be disproved, we are left with the understanding that an uncomfortably large number of innocent people must be in prison.
We are left with the feeling our prosecutors and judges are not doing their jobs.
This troubling for moral reasons, but it is troubling for other reasons, also. Immediately, the tax payers’ have to foot the bill the bill of imprisoning an innocent man. Especially with medical expenses, that bill can be quite high.
Then there is the fact that the innocent person is no longer earning taxable income, and so more taxpayer money is spend while there are less people contributing.
Of course, the family is destroyed and this can go back and tag the taxpayers for generations.
Most frightening, if a person is falsely convicted of robbery or murder or rape, this means the real committer is free to attack again and perhaps, kill.
In November 2016, Texas’ Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest criminal court in Texas, exonerated four San Antonio women who were in prison for almost 15 years for being convicted of sexually assaulting four girls.
The “San Antonio Four”, Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh, Cassandra Rivera and Anna Vasquez were found to be innocent.
Two of Elizabeth’s young nieces accused them of sexually assaulting and threatening to kill them in 1994. However, it was found out later a family member had pressured the nieces to lie about these charges and one later changed her story as an adult.
It turns out there was no acceptable evidence of sexual abuse, even at trial. It is remarkably easy to convict almost anyone of sexual abuse in Texas, although usually only men.
Mr. Brown was convicted of an armed robbery in which a police officer had been killed. He spent ten years on death row until it had been determined he had been innocent all along, just as he said.
The good news about this subject is that we are never at a loss for material. There are so many wrongfully convicted people out there. Unfortunately, that is also the bad news.
He had been at his girlfriend’s house at the time of the incident as he said. Phone records would have established that but the prosecution got the records but did not disclose them. His girlfriend at first corroborated his story but then was threatened by the grand jury if she did not change it. She was thrown in jail and threatened with the loss of her children unless she changed her story. She dutifully did so as would most human beings.
Prosecutorial withholding of evidence favorable to the defense (exculpatory evidence) is a crime and for good reason.
Somewhere out there, because of this, there is still a real killer out there because of the shenanigans of the prosecution, yet there were no meaningful consequences. Perhaps he or she will kill again.