Saturday, 7 April 2007

DNA may overturn 13th case in Dallas

April 7, 2007

DNA may overturn 13th case in Dallas

By JEFF CARLTON, Associated Press

DALLAS - The lawyer for a man who served 10 years in prison for a rape he
says he did not commit said Thursday she expects her client to become the
13th Dallas County man to be exonerated with the help of DNA evidence.

James Curtis Giles, 53, of Lufkin, has a court hearing scheduled for Monday
in which his lawyer and the Dallas County district attorney's office will
present evidence they say proves his innocence in the 1982 gang rape of a
Dallas woman in her apartment.

"He is overjoyed to finally have this day," Vanessa Potkin, Giles' lawyer
and a staff attorney with the Innocence Project, said Thursday. "It's been a
long journey for him. He says he has to laugh to keep from crying."

Lisa Smith, an assistant district attorney in Dallas County, said her
office's investigation of the 25-year-old case found a co-defendant's statements that implicated another man were never presented at trial nor

provided to Giles' lawyer.

The case turned on mistaken identity, Potkin and Smith said. In statements
to police after his arrest, Stanley Bryant, who pleaded guilty to the rape,
implicated two others in the crime: a James Giles and a Michael Brown.

DNA evidence later linked Brown and Bryant to the crime, Smith and Potkin
said. Brown was never tried in the case, but died in prison after being
convicted of another gang rape.

Police eventually arrested Giles, who lived 25 miles away and did not match
the description given by the rape victim, Potkin said. Giles was about 10
years older and had gold teeth. He also had an alibi; he and his wife told
police he was asleep.

Police ignored another man with a similar name, Potkin and Smith said. James
Earl Giles lived across the street from the victim and had previously been
arrested with Brown on other charges. He died in prison in 2000 while
serving time on aggravated assault and robbery convictions.

The judge who hears the case Monday will make a recommendation to a criminal
appeals court in Austin on whether to grant James Curtis Giles' writ of
habeas corpus. If the appeals court grants the writ, Giles' conviction will
be vacated.

If Giles wins his case, he will become the 13th Dallas County man since 2001
to be exonerated by DNA evidence, the most of any county in the nation. It
would be the third exoneration since District Attorney Craig Watkins took
office Jan. 1 and pledged to free anyone wrongfully convicted.


Source : Associated Press

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