Trending
MOST READ
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
8 Cultural Gems on the North Side

8 Cultural Gems on the North Side

City Guide 2014: “Outside the Loop” is used as a pejorative by Downtown-centric cool kids, but oases of culture can be found in the sprawling suburbs of the North Side.... By Dan R. Goddard 2/24/2014
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Free Things to Do: Kid-friendly

Free Things to Do: Kid-friendly

Free Guide: It’s almost summer, which means that your government-subsidized free daycare (aka public school) goes on hiatus thanks to an archaic allegiance to a rural agriculture economic system that hasn’t been in play for decades. What to do with the wee ones whining 5/21/2014
Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Arts & Culture: In one of the final chapters of his book To Selena, With Love (out March 6), Selena's widower Chris Perez mentions that Abraham Quintanilla, his former father-in-law, once... By Enrique Lopetegui 3/7/2012
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

News

New Law Helps Release SA Four, Gives Hope to Others Wrongfully Convicted

Photo: Photo by Mary Tuma, License: N/A

Photo by Mary Tuma

L-R: Elizabeth Ramirez, Anna Vasquez, Kristie Mayhugh and Cassandra Rivera


“I think we have a duty to allow people to be heard and for cases to be reviewed, certainly where there is credible information that shows faulty science was used to convict them. I’m pleased we passed the law and I think it’s just the beginning of a large number of cases in Texas,” said Whitmire.

The reason the legislation is “so dynamic,” he said, is that it requires a review. “What’s so neat about the law is that it just doesn’t leave it to the discretion the Court of Criminal Appeals, it says they shall have a hearing—so, it’s got some teeth in it, it’s got some force.”

Whitmire expressed his satisfaction with the SA Four’s release, but says they were just one of many examples brought to his attention when authoring the bill. The law could open the door for a review of hundreds of cases statewide, particularly of those involving arson, said Blackburn. Last year, Innocence Project Texas teamed up with the Texas State Fire Marshal and the (now reformed) Texas Forensic Science Commission to review arson convictions. He says the group expects to free several individuals who were falsely charged, pointing to the highly politicized and infamous Cameron Todd Willingham case.

“One wrongful conviction is too many,” said Whitmire. “I think we are going to see some best practices coming out of this legislation, some justice.”

In late October, SA Four attorneys Mike Ware and Keith Hampton filed writs of habeas corpus on behalf of the women, allowing them to be freed from detention based on inaccurate expert testimony and the introduction of previously unavailable scientific evidence—the first step to what Ware and others hope is full exoneration.

Both the attorneys and the women applauded Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed and the appellate division’s Rico Valdez, for “embracing science” and being cooperative in the process—from securing an affidavit from Kellogg to digging up information. But not every prosecutor is like Reed, who was not the DA when the San Antonio Four case went to trial, cautioned Blackburn.

“We would thoroughly investigate the claim. We wouldn’t try to put up a roadblock when sharing what we knew with the defense. We tried to be professional about it and do the right thing,” said Reed in an interview with the Current. Reed says her department has always had a process for post-conviction review. “Some [DA departments] aren’t agreeable to reexamining a material valid point, I just have a different opinion.”

While Reed granted a new trial, setting in motion the opportunity for full exoneration, the final decision rests with Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, said Ware. A timeline for the hearing is unclear.

In the meantime, the four women remain faithful they will be officially vindicated.

Recently in News
  • Texas Law Leaves Abortion Out of Reach for Many Women Texas’ sweeping abortion law has already eliminated all abortion clinics south of San Antonio, and the last clinic west of the city... | 8/27/2014
  • Cityscrapes: A race to the convention floor “Conventions go to the city which exerts the greatest efforts to secure them. San Antonio can get any convention that it goes after.” That was the position... | 8/27/2014
  • Mayoral Horserace Once elected next spring, San Antonio’s new mayor will have just a few months to prepare for the 2016 budget... | 8/27/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus