CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Inmates Agree to Have Cases Reopened Due to Bad Blood Analysis Work

From but four of 160 inmates who were questioned over the last two weeks have agreed to have their cases reopened because of shoddy blood analysis work by the Houston Police Department crime lab, attorneys said Thursday.

Since Oct. 22, the inmates have been gathered each day at prisons around the state so a Houston courts panel could tell them via videoconference that their convictions could have been influenced by the flawed lab work. They were told that if they wanted their cases reviewed, a lawyer would be appointed for them.

While some of the inmates simply said "yes" before shuffling back to their cells, for others it was more emotional.

"Some of them wanted to start talking about their case right away," said Bob Wicoff, a Houston defense lawyer assigned to lead the review. "One of them told me, 'I've been waiting for this day. I love you.' And you know what, he may be guilty, but if he was innocent, that may be the way you'd expect somebody to react. We shall see."

Last month, Harris County judges announced plans to review 180 cases identified as having "major issues" in body-fluid analysis in a final report this year from a special investigator hired by the city of Houston to investigate the lab.

Of the 180 cases, 160 inmates were still in prison. Of the remaining 20 cases, half are inmates who have been executed while the other half are inmates who've been freed from prison. Rest of Article. . .

[Mark Godsey

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