January 6th, 2011
This week Cornelius Dupree, Jr. was declared an innocent man after serving more than three decades for a crime he did not commit. Dupree was charged in Dallas, TX in 1980of rape and robbery. The conviction was based largely on a faulty witness identification. Earlier this year, DNA evidence from the rape proved that Dupree was not the perpetrator.
Dupree was represented by Innocence Project Co-Founder Barry Scheck and Senior Staff Attorney Nina Morrison. Morrison said “Mistaken identification has always plagued the criminal justice system, but great strides have been made in the last three decades to understand the problem and come up with fixes like those being considered by the state Legislature that help minimize wrongful convictions. We hope state lawmakers take note of the terrible miscarriage of justice suffered by Cornelius. When the wrong person is convicted of a crime, the real perpetrator goes free, harming everyone.”
Legislation is in the works in Texas to provide standards to law enforcement for administering lineups and photo arrays. These standards would help to prevent eyewitness misidentification by preventing influence of the witness and by imposing strict standards to increase the accurary and reliability of identifications.
Anthony Massingill was convicted with Dupree. He is expected to be exonerated later this month.