Texan Imprisoned for Child Sex Assault Exonerated

FILE - In this June 24, 2010 file photo, deaf inmate Stephen Brodie uses sign language to answer a question through an interpreter during a jailhouse interview in Dallas.  A judge has set aside the 1993 conviction of Brodie, who was sent to prison for raping a 5-year-old girl despite an absence of physical evidence linking him to the attack.  The district attorney's office supported 39-year-old Stephen Brodie's claim of innocence during a court hearing in Dallas on Monday Sept. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
FILE – In this June 24, 2010 file photo, deaf inmate Stephen Brodie uses sign language to answer a question through an interpreter during a jailhouse interview in Dallas. A judge has set aside the 1993 conviction of Brodie, who was sent to prison for raping a 5-year-old girl despite an absence of physical evidence linking him to the attack. The district attorney’s office supported 39-year-old Stephen Brodie’s claim of innocence during a court hearing in Dallas on Monday Sept. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

DALLAS – A judge on Monday overturned the 1993 conviction of a deaf man who was sent to prison for raping a 5-year-old girl despite an absence of physical evidence linking him to the attack.

Stephen Brodie, 39, dropped his head in relief after an interpreter signed to him that Judge Lena Levario had set aside his conviction on the grounds of actual innocence. He then turned to face the courtroom audience, some of whom waved both hands in the air — sign language for applause.

“I feel like a burden has been lifted,” Brodie told reporters through a translator. “I feel light. I feel extremely happy.”

Read more at www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20100928/us-deaf-inmate-exoneration/

Courtesy of JEFF CARLTON, Associated Press Writer• Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:31 pm ET

Dead Wrong

Bobby Ray Dixon of Hattiesburg: The 53-year-old man, who spent 32 years behind bars and is suffering from cancer, said he is glad to be home. He plans to attend a Thursday hearing and hopes to have his name cleared of a crime of which he says he is innocent. (George Clark/Hattiesburg American)
Bobby Ray Dixon of Hattiesburg: The 53-year-old man, who spent 32 years behind bars and is suffering from cancer, said he is glad to be home. He plans to attend a Thursday hearing and hopes to have his name cleared of a crime of which he says he is innocent. (George Clark/Hattiesburg American)

HATTIESBURG — Larry Ruffin spent 23 years behind bars for a rape and murder that DNA shows he did not commit, but he will never walk free from prison.

He died in 2002.

“Every time I think about it, tears come to my eyes,” said Ernestine Arrington, Ruffin’s sister.

The Innocence Project pushed for the DNA tests that ended up clearing not only Ruffin, but Bobby Ray Dixon and Phillip Bivens, also convicted of the May 4, 1979, murder of Eva Gail Patterson in Hattiesburg. DNA from the crime scene matched Andrew Harris, who already is serving a life sentence in Parchman for another rape in Forrest County two years after Patterson’s.

“I want it cleared from the Coast to the Capitol,” she said. “I want everybody to know my son did not do this.”

Read more at: www.clarionledger.com/330437

Courtesy of Jerry Mitchell at The Clarion-Ledger  • jmitchell@clarionledger.com • September 15, 2010

Arizona Justice Project Lawyer Honored

15Arizona Justice Project lawyer honored Phoenix lawyer Larry Hammond, an advocate for death-penalty fairness, will receive the Morris Dees Justice Award in New York City on Nov. 18. Among other things, Hammond has worked to correct systemic problems in death-penalty cases and for representing death-penalty defendants. Hammond started the Arizona Justice Project and helps lead the Arizona Capital Representation Project. The University of Alabama School of Law and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom will give the award.

Courtesy of The Arizona Republic, September 12, 2010.