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Friday, October 12, 2007

Prosecutor Apologizes 12 Years After Innocent Man Convicted of Rape

In yet another example of why defense attorneys do what we do, Ronald Taylor was released from prison after serving 12 years for a crime (rape) he didn’t commit.

The exoneration stems from the exposure of serious problems within the Houston crime lab. According to a story on, an inspector, who formerly worked for the U.S. Justice Department, cited hundreds of “serious and pervasive” flaws in the forensic cases handled by the Houston crime lab.

Mr. Taylor was convicted of rape in 1995 and sentenced to 60 years in prison. The victim picked Mr. Taylor out of a lineup, but apparently admitted she only caught a glimpse of her attacker's face. During his trial, an analyst from the Houston crime lab testified that no body fluids were found on the victim’s bed sheet.

This summer, however, the Innocence Project ( paid to have another crime lab retest the bed sheet in question. Semen was found by the new lab, and it matched the DNA of a man already in prison.

In response to this new evidence of Mr. Taylor’s innocence, and the failure of the Houston crime lab, the Harris County District Attorney, Chuck Rosenthal, apologized to Mr. Taylor in court prior to his release from prison, and several council members echoed his sentiments. The full CNN story can be accessed at:

The full Innocence Project story about the case can be accessed at:

For some other blog posts about the role of a criminal defense lawyer and the importance of this function to the criminal justice system, please see:

Another job well done by the Innocence Project!

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, PC

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank Spinner and I (attorney Richard Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens & The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation.

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