Friday, May 16, 2008

"He took my life away from me"

CNN follows 60 Minutes in chronicling the 17 men freed after possibly intentional prosecutorial misfires from Henry Wade's office by focusing on the latest of the exonerated - James Woodard, who spent 27 years behind bars for a rape and murder he did not commit. Woodard spent decades behind bars, making impassioned pleas to Wade to look at other evidence. To add insult to injury, turns out Wade's prosecutors knew all along that there was another person of interest, but were more interested in collecting wins than meting out justice. Dallas County DA Craig Watkins office is working with the Innocence Project of Texas to examine hundreds more cases. He also feels the prosecutor who handled Woodard's case - and those like him - should be jailed.
"When individuals intend to cause a person to be convicted for a crime they did not commit, that's an embarrassment for our profession," he told CNN.
Woodard agrees.
"I think he should pay a penalty. I paid 27 years. He took my life away from me. What's the difference if it's by a gun, by words or by lies. What's gone is gone."
Update: CNN just explained even more how heart-breaking the situation is for men like Woodard, by following men who are trying to live after being exonerated. Life doesn't get any easier once their free - nor any fairer.