These kind of Cases makes me sick! -
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2004, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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These kind of Cases makes me sick!

U.S. National - AP
Evidence Test Frees Man After 17 Years

Sat Oct 9,12:44 AM ET
U.S. National - AP By PAM EASTON, Associated Press Writer

HOUSTON - A man imprisoned for 17 years for kidnapping and rape was released Friday after a judge recommended a new trial, saying inaccurate evidence may have led to his 1987 conviction.

State District Judge Belinda Hill said new testing shows that a hair found in the 14-year-old victim's underwear did not belong to George Rodriguez. She also said a Houston police crime lab worker's trial testimony was based on inaccurate scientific evidence.

Prosecutor Bill Hawkins said Friday there were "serious indicators" that Rodriguez committed the crimes, but acknowledged a new trial was warranted.

"Mr. Rodriguez did not receive justice when that evidence was used at trial," Hawkins said.

After posting bond, Rodriguez walked outside into the arms of his jubilant relatives and kissed his mother.

"I kept telling them I was innocent; they just didn't care," Rodriguez said, referring to authorities.

The judge said the prosecutor "unknowingly" relied on the inaccurate evidence to argue in favor of Rodriguez's guilt, and the jury may have considered that evidence to convict him. Rodriguez was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Hawkins said prosecutors have not decided whether to try the case again. He said there was evidence other than the hair: The victim identified Rodriguez and said the rapist had a deep voice, and Rodriguez, without explanation, knew the girl was sexually assaulted on a bed.

Rodriguez's attorney, Mark Wawro, said retrying the case would be a waste of money. He said his client is innocent and evidence points to another man once considered a suspect.

His daughter, Patricia, who was 2 when her father went to prison, said she never gave up on her father.

"He always told me, 'You know I'm innocent,' and I believed him. He would always say, 'One day, Daddy is going to prove his innocence.' ... I can't wait to try starting to get to know him more," said Patricia Rodriguez, who is now 19.

The judge ordered Rodriguez to report to court officials once a week while his case goes to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Rodriguez's trial took place five years before Houston's police department began DNA work, and evidence problems related to his case were not related to accusations that the lab mishandled evidence in old cases.

I FEEL REAL BAD when I hear people who are wrongly accused for a crime and then released because they were innocent. Because its real sad when they have to waste so many years in jail when they did nothing wrong.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2004, 04:58 PM
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Yeah I hate when that happens too. And to think that if DNA evidence and all these forensic methods hadnt been invented there'd be lots more innocent people still in jail. Hopefully he gets a shitload of compensation. 17 years is a long time, probably worth a few million dollars. But money still wouldnt compensate for such an experience.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2004, 08:49 PM
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i've always been a believer of the saying that things happen for a reason. but it's cases like these that make me really wonder. to say that these things are horrific circumstances is an understatement. what does the greater being have in store for this person? why him? why this time? why this case? all these questions beg a peak into the greater scheme of all that happens to us just one big coincidence? nothing more, nothing less?

i agree with you 100%, these kind of things make me sick as well...
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