Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Faulty Phot ID Practice was the Cause of Yet Another Wronful Conviction
From dallasnews.com: A questionable
identification process nearly 23 years ago helped strip away freedom
from Thomas Clifford McGowan Jr. Now the certainty of DNA testing is
about to restore it.
Today, state District Judge Susan Hawk is likely to recommend Mr. McGowan's release after agreeing that new genetic evidence proves he could not have committed a 1985 rape and burglary in Richardson that sent him to prison for life.
Mr. McGowan is expected to be freed while the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals in Austin considers the judge's recommendation.
The 49-year-old would become the 16th Dallas County inmate to be cleared through DNA testing since 2001, the highest total for any county in the country. Like almost all of the other discredited convictions, Mr. McGowan's was based primarily on the victim selecting his photograph from a police lineup.
What is remarkable about Mr. McGowan's case, according to one of his defense attorneys, is the ordinariness of the process that ultimately branded him a rapist.
Richardson police obtained his photograph from a traffic arrest two days after the rape. Out of seven total pictures, Mr. McGowan's color photo was placed in an array that contained three other color originals. A fifth photo was black and white. The remaining two were black-and-white photocopies of photographs. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]