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J. Raymond Carroll

The legacy of Henry Wade

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So far, 17 men have been cleared in Dallas - that's more than most states. All were put on trial by prosecutors who worked for the legendary District Attorney Henry Wade. Wade was Dallas' top prosecutor for more than 30 years. He never lost a case he handled personally. But it turns out the record of Wade's office was too good to be true. And now, a new Dallas district attorney is focusing on the Wade legacy - it's a search for innocent men waiting to be exonerated.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/05/02/...in4065454.shtml

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Just think of all the criminals who went on committing crimes because Wade was focused on putting innocent people in jail.

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Just think of all the criminals who went on committing crimes because Wade was focused on putting innocent people in jail.

And for all the innocent men put behind bars, those who actually committed the crimes are free. Say la Lee Harvey Oswald.

Free the innocent but then reopen a cold case and make it hot and get the bad guys who actually committed the crimes, including the murders of JFK and J D Tippit.

BK

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So far, 17 men have been cleared in Dallas - that's more than most states. All were put on trial by prosecutors who worked for the legendary District Attorney Henry Wade. Wade was Dallas' top prosecutor for more than 30 years. He never lost a case he handled personally. But it turns out the record of Wade's office was too good to be true. And now, a new Dallas district attorney is focusing on the Wade legacy - it's a search for innocent men waiting to be exonerated.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/05/02/...in4065454.shtml

The Innocence Project of OJ lawyer Barry Scheck is more responsible for the new investigations

of these cases than the new DA. Scheck looks for cases where DNA evidence (largely rape) can

clear the innocent.

Jack

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So far, 17 men have been cleared in Dallas - that's more than most states. All were put on trial by prosecutors who worked for the legendary District Attorney Henry Wade. Wade was Dallas' top prosecutor for more than 30 years. He never lost a case he handled personally. But it turns out the record of Wade's office was too good to be true. And now, a new Dallas district attorney is focusing on the Wade legacy - it's a search for innocent men waiting to be exonerated.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/05/02/...in4065454.shtml

Thanks for that, Ray! You should give me a call again sometime ... today (Wednesday) is a good day.

Edited by Duke Lane

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"Never once — ever — did I ever get the feeling of anything unethical," Hagood said. He denied there was any pressure exerted from above — "no `wink' deals, no `The boss says we need to get this guy.'" :angry:

The Associated Press

Photo 1 of 2

In this March 4, 1986 file photo former Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade speaks during an interview in Dallas. During an unprecedented 36-year reign as the Dallas County district attorney, Wade convicted more than 90 percent of the defendants in his purview. Nineteen convictions _ so far _ won by Wade and his successors are being overturned, some two-thirds of them involving black men. An estimated 250 cases remain for review. The current district attorney, Craig Watkins, says more will go free. (AP Photo/Steve Krauss, File)

©2008 Google - Map data ©2008 LeadDog Consulting, NAVTEQ™ - Terms of Use

After Dallas DA's death, 19 convictions are undone

By MICHAEL GRACZYK – 1 day ago

DALLAS (AP) — As district attorney of Dallas for an unprecedented 36 years, Henry Wade was the embodiment of Texas justice.

A strapping 6-footer with a square jaw and a half-chewed cigar clamped between his teeth, The Chief, as he was known, prosecuted Jack Ruby. He was the Wade in Roe v. Wade. And he compiled a conviction rate so impressive that defense attorneys ruefully called themselves the 7 Percent Club.

But now, seven years after Wade's death, The Chief's legacy is taking a beating.

Nineteen convictions — three for murder and the rest involving rape or burglary — won by Wade and two successors who trained under him have been overturned after DNA evidence exonerated the defendants. About 250 more cases are under review.

No other county in America — and almost no state, for that matter — has freed more innocent people from prison in recent years than Dallas County, where Wade was DA from 1951 through 1986.

Current District Attorney Craig Watkins, who in 2006 became the first black elected chief prosecutor in any Texas county, said that more wrongly convicted people will go free.

"There was a cowboy kind of mentality and the reality is that kind of approach is archaic, racist, elitist and arrogant," said Watkins, who is 40 and never worked for Wade or met him.

But some of those who knew Wade say the truth is more complicated than Watkins' summation.

"My father was not a racist. He didn't have a racist bone in his body," said Kim Wade, a lawyer in his own right. "He was very competitive."

Moreover, former colleagues — and even the Innocence Project of Texas, which is spearheading the DNA tests — credit Wade with preserving the evidence in every case, a practice that allowed investigations to be reopened and inmates to be freed. (His critics say, of course, that he kept the evidence for possible use in further prosecutions, not to help defendants.)

The new DA and other Wade detractors say the cases won under Wade were riddled with shoddy investigations, evidence was ignored and defense lawyers were kept in the dark. They note that the promotion system under Wade rewarded prosecutors for high conviction rates.

In the case of James Lee Woodard — released in April after 27 years in prison for a murder DNA showed he didn't commit — Wade's office withheld from defense attorneys photographs of tire tracks at the crime scene that didn't match Woodard's car.

"Now in hindsight, we're finding lots of places where detectives in those cases, they kind of trimmed the corners to just get the case done," said Michelle Moore, a Dallas County public defender and president of the Innocence Project of Texas. "Whether that's the fault of the detectives or the DA's, I don't know."

John Stickels, a University of Texas at Arlington criminology professor and a director of the Innocence Project of Texas, blames a culture of "win at all costs."

"When someone was arrested, it was assumed they were guilty," he said. "I think prosecutors and investigators basically ignored all evidence to the contrary and decided they were going to convict these guys."

A Democrat, Wade was first elected DA at age 35 after three years as an assistant DA, promising to "stem the rising tide of crime." Wade already had spent four years as an FBI agent, served in the Navy during World War II and did a stint as a local prosecutor in nearby Rockwall County, where he grew up on a farm, the son of a lawyer. Wade was one of 11 children; six of the boys went on to become lawyers.

He was elected 10 times in all. He and his cadre of assistant DAs — all of them white men, early on — consistently reported annual conviction rates above 90 percent. In his last 20 years as district attorney, his office won 165,000 convictions, the Dallas Morning News reported when he retired.

In the 1960s, Wade secured a murder conviction against Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who shot Lee Harvey Oswald after Oswald's arrest in the assassination of President Kennedy. Ruby's conviction was overturned on appeal, and he died before Wade could retry him.

Wade was also the defendant in the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. The case began three years earlier when Dallas resident Norma McCorvey — using the pseudonym Jane Roe — sued because she couldn't get an abortion in Texas.

Troubling cases surfaced in the 1980s, as Wade's career was winding down.

Lenell Geter, a black engineer, was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to life in prison. After Geter had spent more than a year behind bars, Wade agreed to a new trial, then dropped the charges in 1983 amid reports of shoddy evidence and allegations Geter was singled out because of his race.

In Wade's final year in office, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of a black man, Thomas Miller-El, ruling that blacks were excluded from the jury. Cited in Miller-El's appeal was a manual for prosecutors that Wade wrote in 1969 and was used for more than a decade. It gave instructions on how to keep minorities off juries.

A month before Wade died of Parkinson's disease in 2001, DNA evidence was used for the first time to reverse a Dallas County conviction. David Shawn Pope, found guilty of rape in 1986, had spent 15 years in prison.

Watkins, a former defense lawyer, has since put in place a program under which prosecutors, aided by law students, are examining hundreds of old cases where convicted criminals have requested DNA testing.

Of the 19 convictions that have been overturned, all but four were won during Wade's tenure. In two-thirds of the cases, the defendants were black men. None of the convictions that have come under review are death penalty cases.

"I think the number of examples of cases show it's troubling," said Nina Morrison, an attorney with the Innocence Project, a New York-based legal group affiliated with the Texas effort. "Whether it's worse than other jurisdictions, it's hard to say. It would be a mistake to conclude the problems in these cases are limited to Dallas or are unique to Dallas.

Former assistant prosecutor Dan Hagood said The Chief expected his assistants to be prepared, represent the state well and be careful and fair.

"Never once — ever — did I ever get the feeling of anything unethical," Hagood said. He denied there was any pressure exerted from above — "no `wink' deals, no `The boss says we need to get this guy.'"

But Watkins said those who defend The Chief are "protecting a legacy."

"Clearly it was a culture. A lot of folks don't want to admit it. It was there," the new DA said. "We decided to fix it."

Hosted by Google

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hYTWVc0...ATyd3QD927LK980

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Working now...

Jim Marrs Looks at the Dallas Police JFK Files

http://www.sumo.tv/watch.php?video=366986

B......

Thanks for that Bernice, but that's Jim Marrs' examination of Dallas PD files, not the Dallas DA files.

I'd like to hear what Jim has to say about the DA records, and wish someone would find out what is in the films that Watkins says he has and get back to us on what's in the freakin films.

Also, thanks to Jim for continuing to call for the release of the records.

BK

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Henry Wade is notorious, even in South Africa!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Twenty four years of hell...

By Ed Stoddard

James Waller spent ten years behind bars, and waited another 14 years while his movements were restricted as a sex offender - before DNA evidence finally cleared his name.

He is one of the lucky ones, according to the Innocence Project, a New York-based organisation dedicated to exonerating wrongly convicted people.

DNA testing allows crime laboratories to compare genetic evidence at a crime scene, such as semen, with the DNA of a suspect.

Some 218 people have been exonerated in the US using DNA since the technique was first used to overturn convictions in 1989.

But for many others the evidence has either been lost or simply was not preserved, the Innocence Project says.

Only 25 of America's 50 states and Washington have legislation compelling authorities to preserve evidence of old cases. Even where such laws exist, they are often inadequate, while storage procedures and facilities are poor.

"In New York City we have around 20 cases we are working on where the evidence simply cannot be located. It's unavailable to us for testing, and we don't know if it is lost or if it has been destroyed," said Rebecca Brown, policy analyst at the Innocence Project.

Waller, 52, was convicted in 1983 of sexually assaulting an adolescent boy. He spent ten years in prison, and for 14 years he was registered as a sex offender, preventing him from visiting nieces or going where children might be present, such as parks.

"A dog could go where I couldn't go," Waller said in an interview in an east Dallas coffee shop.

The jurisdiction where Waller was convicted, Dallas County, Texas, leads in such cases, with 17 cleared by DNA evidence.

An aggressive district attorney goes a long way to explaining the number of wrongful convictions, according to Fred Moss, of the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

"A lot of these cases occurred under the Wade administration, and the culture of that office was aggressive. Advancement was based on conviction rates," Moss said.

He was referring to the late Henry Wade, Dallas District Attorney for more than 35 years, who oversaw famous cases such as the prosecution of Jack Ruby for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F Kennedy.

The policy of the District Attorney's office during the 1980s, when many of these trials occurred, was to "nail scalps to the wall", Moss said.

Another factor is racism in a big town in the South. Of the 17 people whose convictions were overturned on DNA evidence in Dallas County, 13 are black. Nationally, two-thirds of the 218 exonerated were black.

In Waller's trial the victim, who is white, described an attacker much smaller than Waller, who is 1,92m tall. Asked to identify his attacker in court, he pointed to Waller's lawyer, another African American, who was about 1,72m.

Ironically, one reason Dallas has turned up so many wrongful convictions is that it preserves evidence under a policy aimed at reconvicting if conviction is overturned on appeal.

In other states, preserved evidence is harder for lawyers to get hold of.

In Georgia evidence in death penalty cases is kept until the convict is executed, but for serious felonies storage is only for up to ten years.

"Dallas is the canary in the coal mine. It is indicative of a larger problem not unique to Dallas," said Moss.

With so many of these cases emerging, analysts say it stands to reason an innocent person may have been among the more than 1 100 convicted killers executed in the US over three decades. More than 400 executions were in Texas.

This view is echoed by Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins, who took office 18 months ago.

"There probably has been someone not just from Dallas County but from this state that was executed for a crime they didn't commit. Reason would tell us that," he told Reuters.

Watkins, Texas' first black DA, said he was mindful of charges of racial bias in the dispensation of justice, and his office would investigate all cases of possible wrongful conviction.

"We get letters every day from individuals claiming innocence," he said.

But does the use of DNA and other improvements in forensic investigations mean the number of wrongful convictions is in decline?

The Innocence Project says tens of thousands of prime suspects have been shown by DNA testing to have been wrongly accused.

But its caseload is growing, and flawed testing, eyewitness misidentification, false confessions and because DNA is not always available - mean the wrong people still go to jail.

For James Waller the DNA evidence came too late.

He used to come with his wife to the same coffee shop where he now sits. She was killed in a car accident in 2001, eight months pregnant.

Choking back emotion, he said: "They took away a whole generation from me. I wanted to have kids but never had any." - Reuters

This article was originally published on page 15 of The Star on July 04, 2008

Published on the Web by IOL on 2008-07-04 06:19:00

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

© Independent Online 2005. All rights reserved. IOL publishes this article in good faith but is not liable for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information it contains.

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&am...61928376C618382

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I applaud Craig Watkins for maintaining evidence and allowing the review of the cases of these innocent men, yet, some guilty criminals who actually committed these crimes are walking free, still committing crimes.

I want to read the story about the Task Force set up to investigate unsolved homicides, especially federally cognizant homicides that would be properly investigated without political subtafuge if the Emmett Till Bill is passed by the Senate, but one Senator is holding it up.

There's also been an errie silence coming out of Dallas since the suspicious suicide of Craig Watkin's good friend and associate, who handled some of the JFK evidence, and what's contained in the film that Watkins said was in the safe with the JFK assassination documents that were made public.

There is also the question as to the final desposition of the records, whether they will go to the privately controlled 6th Floor or revert to the JFK Collection at the National Archives and Records Administration.

I would also like to know who was Dallas DA when the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) came to town to take testimony and accept any and all government records related to the assassination of President Kennedy, and those records were not mentioned or included.

That makes me believe there are more such caches of still secret records related to the assassination, that have yet to surface.

BK

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I applaud Craig Watkins for maintaining evidence and allowing the review of the cases of these innocent men, yet, some guilty criminals who actually committed these crimes are walking free, still committing crimes.

BK

Yesterday another victim of Henry Wade's Dallas Justice was set free after DNA testing proved him innocent.

Mr. Lindsey's alibi was that he was at his job, a commercial laundry where he pressed pants, when the rape occurred. His boss, Mike Pollard, testified that he believed Mr. Lindsey was at work that day.

Mr. Pollard also showed the jury a timecard that put Mr. Lindsey at work during the time of the rape and a check showing that Mr. Lindsey was paid for working that day, according to court records.

But the jury rejected the defense arguments and convicted Mr. Lindsey in 1983. That conviction was overturned on a technicality, however. He was retried in 1985, when another jury convicted him and sentenced him to life in prison.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dw...n2.26dd697.html

Public defender Michelle Moore, who is Lindsey's attorney, said Lindsey always maintained his innocence and produced time cards showing he was at work at a dry cleaners when the attack occurred. Lindsey's boss also testified at trial that Lindsey was working.

Moore blamed eyewitness misidentification and faulty police photo lineup procedures for her client's conviction. Lindsey, who had a prior conviction for aggravated robbery, became a suspect in the rape of a woman near White Rock Lake after pleading guilty to attempted rape in a separate case, a legal maneuver Moore said "was a business decision" to avoid a lengthy sentence.

Police then included his picture in a photo lineup mailed to the White Rock Lake victim about a year after she was assaulted. The woman was raped by a shirtless man, and Lindsey was one of two shirtless men among the six photos.

He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Coincidentally, the judge who ran the court that Lindsey said ignored his requests was Henry Wade Jr., son of the legendary Dallas prosecutor who put behind bars many of the inmates now being freed by DNA testing.

Reached by phone Friday, Wade told The Associated Press it was unlikely he ever would have seen the letters. They would routinely be opened by the district clerk's office and DNA testing requests would be forwarded to then-DA Bill Hill, he said.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/6011636.html

Edited by J. Raymond Carroll

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Thanks to Tom Blackwell (and Ed and Debra) for keeping us posted on this. - BK

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-0...653195694_x.htm

By Michael Graczyk, Associated Press Writer

DALLAS — As district attorney of Dallas for an unprecedented 36 years, Henry Wade was the embodiment of Texas justice.A strapping 6-footer with a square jaw and a half-chewed cigar clamped between his teeth, The Chief, as he was known, prosecuted Jack Ruby. He was the Wade in Roe v. Wade. And he compiled a conviction rate so impressive that defense attorneys ruefully called themselves the 7 Percent Club.

But now, seven years after Wade's death, The Chief's legacy is taking a beating.

Nineteen convictions -- three for murder and the rest involving rape or burglary -- won by Wade and two successors who trained under him have been overturned after DNA evidence exonerated the defendants. About 250 more cases are under review.

No other county in America -- and almost no state, for that matter -- has freed more innocent people from prison in recent years than Dallas County, where Wade was DA from 1951 through 1986.

Current District Attorney Craig Watkins, who in 2006 became the first black elected chief prosecutor in any Texas county, said that more wrongly convicted people will go free.

"There was a cowboy kind of mentality and the reality is that kind of approach is archaic, racist, elitist and arrogant," said Watkins, who is 40 and never worked for Wade or met him.

But some of those who knew Wade say the truth is more complicated than Watkins' summation.

"My father was not a racist. He didn't have a racist bone in his body," said Kim Wade, a lawyer in his own right. "He was very competitive."

Moreover, former colleagues -- and even the Innocence Project of Texas, which is spearheading the DNA tests -- credit Wade with preserving the evidence in every case, a practice that allowed investigations to be reopened and inmates to be freed. (His critics say, of course, that he kept the evidence for possible use in further prosecutions, not to help defendants.)

The new DA and other Wade detractors say the cases won under Wade were riddled with shoddy investigations, evidence was ignored and defense lawyers were kept in the dark. They note that the promotion system under Wade rewarded prosecutors for high conviction rates.

In the case of James Lee Woodard -- released in April after 27 years in prison for a murder DNA showed he didn't commit -- Wade's office withheld from defense attorneys photographs of tire tracks at the crime scene that didn't match Woodard's car.

"Now in hindsight, we're finding lots of places where detectives in those cases, they kind of trimmed the corners to just get the case done," said Michelle Moore, a Dallas County public defender and president of the Innocence Project of Texas. "Whether that's the fault of the detectives or the DA's, I don't know."

John Stickels, a University of Texas at Arlington criminology professor and a director of the Innocence Project of Texas, blames a culture of "win at all costs."

"When someone was arrested, it was assumed they were guilty," he said. "I think prosecutors and investigators basically ignored all evidence to the contrary and decided they were going to convict these guys."

A Democrat, Wade was first elected DA at age 35 after three years as an assistant DA, promising to "stem the rising tide of crime." Wade already had spent four years as an FBI agent, served in the Navy during World War II and did a stint as a local prosecutor in nearby Rockwall County, where he grew up on a farm, the son of a lawyer. Wade was one of 11 children; six of the boys went on to become lawyers.

He was elected 10 times in all. He and his cadre of assistant DAs -- all of them white men, early on -- consistently reported annual conviction rates above 90 percent. In his last 20 years as district attorney, his office won 165,000 convictions, the Dallas Morning News reported when he retired.

In the 1960s, Wade secured a murder conviction against Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who shot Lee Harvey Oswald after Oswald's arrest in the assassination of President Kennedy. Ruby's conviction was overturned on appeal, and he died before Wade could retry him.

Wade was also the defendant in the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. The case began three years earlier when Dallas resident Norma McCorvey -- using the pseudonym Jane Roe -- sued because she couldn't get an abortion in Texas.

Troubling cases surfaced in the 1980s, as Wade's career was winding down.

Lenell Geter, a black engineer, was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to life in prison. After Geter had spent more than a year behind bars, Wade agreed to a new trial, then dropped the charges in 1983 amid reports of shoddy evidence and allegations Geter was singled out because of his race.

In Wade's final year in office, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of a black man, Thomas Miller-El, ruling that blacks were excluded from the jury. Cited in Miller-El's appeal was a manual for prosecutors that Wade wrote in 1969 and was used for more than a decade. It gave instructions on how to keep minorities off juries.

A month before Wade died of Parkinson's disease in 2001, DNA evidence was used for the first time to reverse a Dallas County conviction. David Shawn Pope, found guilty of rape in 1986, had spent 15 years in prison.

Watkins, a former defense lawyer, has since put in place a program under which prosecutors, aided by law students, are examining hundreds of old cases where convicted criminals have requested DNA testing.

Of the 19 convictions that have been overturned, all but four were won during Wade's tenure. In two-thirds of the cases, the defendants were black men. None of the convictions that have come under review are death penalty cases.

"I think the number of examples of cases show it's troubling," said Nina Morrison, an attorney with the Innocence Project, a New York-based legal group affiliated with the Texas effort. "Whether it's worse than other jurisdictions, it's hard to say. It would be a mistake to conclude the problems in these cases are limited to Dallas or are unique to Dallas.

Former assistant prosecutor Dan Hagood said The Chief expected his assistants to be prepared, represent the state well and be careful and fair.

"Never once -- ever -- did I ever get the feeling of anything unethical," Hagood said. He denied there was any pressure exerted from above -- "no 'wink' deals, no 'The boss says we need to get this guy.'"

But Watkins said those who defend The Chief are "protecting a legacy."

"Clearly it was a culture. A lot of folks don't want to admit it. It was there," the new DA said. "We decided to fix it."

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