It seems like something out of a movie. A man wrongly accused and sent to prison for a murder he did not commit. An innocent life behind bars, writing letters to anyone who could help him. Almost a decade later, he is set free after there is DNA evidence. But now his life is unrecognizable after almost 10 years in prison. Unfortunately, this isn’t a Hollywood movie – this is real life, and it happens more often than you think.
In 2010, Lyndell Grant was convicted of stabbing a man in front of a bar in Houston. For the next nine years of his life, he wrote letters to defense lawyers and legal teams to exonerate him. In 2019, the Innocence Project of Texas exposed the emerging DNA technology to gather evidence that the wrong man was behind bars. Prosecutors re-examined the DNA removed from the victim’s fingernails. They found out that Grant wasn’t the one responsible for the murder. Instead, the DNA pointed to another suspect, Jermarico Carter from Atlanta. Then he confessed to the murder and publicly apologized to Grant.
The Harris County District Attorney supported a loan application and Grant was released. However, he was not relieved and therefore cannot start his life from the beginning. It’s been almost nine months and he still can’t get a job or move forward in his life. State officials say the reason for this delay is the overwhelming number of cases linked to the recent coronavirus outbreak.
Innocent life behind bars
This is hardly the only case of an innocent man being jailed in Texas. Some estimate that there are thousands of innocent inmates in Texas prisons. An estimated 5,640 people are imprisoned behind bars for crimes they did not commit, according to the Innocence Project of Texas. That is more than 4 percent of those currently incarcerated in the state.
How do innocent people end up in jail? Innocent men and women can be cursed for crimes they did not commit for many reasons. Maybe they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe witnesses lied or just identified the wrong person. Worse, police and other officials may have planted evidence or changed their history to expedite the closure of a case.
Research by the American University found several predictors that could explain why some people are convicted of crimes they did not commit. These include: young defendants, criminal history, weak defense, law enforcement who withheld evidence, lies by non-eyewitnesses, accidental false identification of witnesses, misinterpretation of forensic evidence in the process, criminal culture.
Criminal Law Matters
A weak defense is one of the main reasons innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit. For this reason, it is important to find an experienced and qualified criminal defense attorney from the start. Immediately after you are arrested and charged with a crime, it is important to call a law firm. Do not speak to the police or interrogators without your attorney present. They can use anything you say against you and they can twist words to show guilt. Always keep your attorney present before answering questions.
Since your freedom and future depends largely on your defense strategy, it is important to take the time to find a lawyer with extensive experience to represent people like you. This is too important to go it alone. Unfortunately, many innocent people do not get quick legal assistance because they believe they don’t need it. After all – they did not commit this crime. However, this is the wrong choice. Without an experienced and aggressive criminal lawyer by your side, you could face serious consequences for crimes you did not commit.
Call our Houston defense attorneys immediately
After your arrest, you will need an attorney you can trust. At Roger G. Jain & Associates, PC, our Houston trial lawyers are examining your case from top to bottom. We will find the facts to prove your innocence and dismiss the charges. We know how to approach and manage the complex legal process in Texas, and we fight aggressively for our clients at every step. Call us today at 713-981-0600 or fill out our confidential contact form. We are here to help!