At least 12 people were scheduled to be released this afternoon from jail. They’ve not been exonerated, but due to the most INCREDIBLE dishonest illegal flat-out perjurous claims made by one Tom Coleman of Tulia, Texas these people got to spend some time in jail.
On total lies. Drug-dealin’ lies, the kinda lies that make men get convicted for 90 years. Men like Joe Moore, a pig farmer of 60. Arrested from his tawdry shack of a house, accused of being a drug kingpin and convicted of same.
See, down in Texas, having District Judge Ron Chapman release these people and recommend that ALL of their convictions be thrown out just isn’t good enough. You need to run such a thing by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
These people are’t cleared but they were released on bail, POST-CONVICTION. Now, that is rare indeed. It took an act of the Texas Legislature to pass a bill allowing the release of the prisoners on bail.
Seems that no amount of overwhelming evidence is enough. Once these scourges of society (ahem) were captures in a “deep undercover” investigation and arrested, they were all railroaded through the judicial system. Two weeks ago, Governor Rick Perry signed the bill that permitted Judge Chapman to release these poor people.
Indeed, sometimes innocent people DO wind up behind bars. For ( in some cases in this situation ) 90 years. Apparently no drugs, guns OR money were found when the original 48 people were arrested by this Tom Coleman. After the first few trials resulted in 90+ year sentences, the rest figured they were foregone conclusions, and made deals for lesser sentences than the 90+ years that had already been handed out. Even though they were absolutely innocent. And everybody knew it.
The various branches of Texas State government have all admitted that these people were railroaded, and almost all branches have done what they can to move to release these people on bail. The decision has not been made yet whether to call the final disposition of the cases a Pardon, a Clemency or some other kind of disposition of similar positive finality.
And yet…they sit out and wait. Now free on bail. Because even though the rest of the entire State Government including Governor Rick Perry feels that a terrible wrong has been done, it doesn’t mean squat.
It is well possible that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will re-incarcerate all of these people for the full duration of their sentences. Because they can.
Me, I find this to be pretty darned horrible. I will watch the news tonight to see if perhaps some sanity has rained down upon these people. It must be intoxicating to know you can defy your Governor and State Legislature, and just do what the heck you wanna do with people’s lives. I do seriously hope that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals blinks, and sees the gravity of the situation and completely wipes out the records of these people. Who have done jail time. For the crime of being arrested by a proven liar. Named Tom Coleman of Tulia, Texas.
The names and facts cited are from The New York Times, Monday June 16th, 2003 Page A-19. " Partway To Freedom", by Bob Herbert.