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The Houston Chronicle asks whether Texas executed an innocent man


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George Rodriguez Exonerated

George Rodriguez was convicted of a rape that he did not commit in 1987. His conviction was obtained through faulty scientific evidence. At Rodriguez 's trial, HPD crime lab supervisor Jim Bolding testified that a hair found on the victim matched Rodriguez. He also told jurors that blood-type testing had eliminated another suspect, Isidro Yanez, as a possible participant in the attack, undercutting the defense theory that Yanez was the assailant. DNA tests conducted recently, however, proved that the hair could not have come from Rodriguez and likely came from Yanez. Other tests have shown that Bolding's testimony regarding the blood-typing was wrong and that Yanez could not have been eliminated as a suspect based on those tests. The exposure of HPD's errors prompted prosecutors to agree to release Rodriguez from prison. The GRACE team provided vital work from the summer of 2004 to secure Rodriguez’ release.

Rodriquez’s case is one of three recent Harris County cases in which mistakenly convicted men have been freed; Josiah Sutton, received a pardon in May after spending four years in prison for a 1998 rape that was based on faulty DNA evidence; Anthony Robinson, was pardoned in 2000 after 10 years in prison for a sexual assault that DNA testing indicated he did not commit.

Since his release, the District Attorney has decided not to seek a retrial for George Rodriguez. He can now rest assured that he is no longer in danger of returning to jail for a crime he did not commit.



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