Target: Texas Senator John Whitmire
Goal: Commend efforts to grant new trials to defendants where forensic science could prove innocence.
After dozens of exonerations based on advancements in forensic science have occurred in the last few years, Texas legislators have signed a new bill that will help wrongfully convicted prisoners prove their innocence. In cases in which the verdict could change based on developments in forensics, the law allows courts to grant defendants a new trial. This is the first law of its kind in the United States, and gives hope to an estimated 20,000 falsely convicted prisoners.
For many years, activists have been calling for reform of our nation’s criminal justice system so that wrongful convictions will stop. The average time it takes for a convict to exonerate himself after being imprisoned is thirteen years. Because of that turnaround time, many of those who have been falsely convicted end up serving their full sentence, all the while being innocent. They lose their time, freedom, and life as they knew it. When sentencing a defendant to imprisonment, it is imperative that judges and juries are absolutely certain of his or her guilt. However, as evidenced by the 20,000 innocents detained, there are unacceptable fallacies that must be rectified.
By creating this law, Texas legislators are opening the doors to reform. Many fields in forensic science have evolved in the last decade, and new developments could prove instrumental in the exoneration of falsely convicted prisoners. If a prisoner’s case hinged on forensic evidence that is now largely outdated, he or she now stands to gain from a new case with newer and more accurate methods and technologies.
This new law proposed by Texas Senator Whitmire gives hope to anyone in prison that does not deserve to be there. Additionally, it gives wrongfully convicted prisoners an avenue to clear their names, and addresses the fact that our criminal justice system is flawed. Commend Senator Whitmire for giving hope to innocent men and women behind bars.
Dear Senator Whitmire,
The bill you created that allows courts to grant defendants a new trial based on advancements in forensic science is a breakthrough in the issue of reform for our criminal justice system. It acknowledges that our system has flaws and offers much-needed flexibility for wrongfully convicted prisoners.
This law could help exonerate prisoners who have lost years of their life to a false conviction. Beyond clearing a prisoner’s name, it could save an innocent person’s life who has been on death row because of a trial gone wrong. Thank you for creating a bill that gives hope to those who have been wrongfully convicted of a crime and sent to prison.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Luftluzer via Wikimedia Commons