Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Man who confessed to multiple rapes didn't commit any of them

It is not always safe to assume that a man is guilty of rape merely because he confessed to it. The news story below recounts a miscarriage of justice where a man spent 25 years in prison for a series of crimes he didn't commit. He pleaded guilty to nine rapes that DNA now proves he did not commit.

One of the feminist sexual assault canards is that a rape accuser who recants her claim shouldn't necessarily be believed. That, of course, is largely feminist wishfulness. But on the other hand, DNA evidence unequivocally proves that a man convicted of rape who confessed to it should not necessarily be believed.


Man awaits Tuesday exoneration hearing

By Jeff Carlton / Associated Press
Article Launched: 08/01/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

DALLAS -- A hearing is scheduled for next week to clear the record of another wrongly convicted Dallas-area man proven innocent by DNA testing.

An exoneration hearing is set for Tuesday in state district court in Dallas for Steven Phillips, who served 25 years and remains on probation for a series of sex crimes he did not commit.

"He has been waiting a very long time, and he is happy this day is finally here," said Jason Kreag, Phillips' lawyer and a staff attorney with the Innocence Project.

Dallas County prosecutors agreed earlier this year that a DNA test conducted in 2007 showed that Phillips did not commit the 1982 sexual assault and burglary that sent him to prison. But Phillips' case was complicated by the fact he later pleaded guilty to nine similar sex crimes, cases in which no DNA evidence is available.

After reinvestigating those additional cases, the district attorney's office agrees that Phillips did not commit them. The DA's office will not oppose Phillips' request to vacate his convictions.
"Everyone understood those crimes were all done by the same person," Kreag said.

If the judge Tuesday recommends clearing Phillips' record to the state Court of Criminal Appeals, the effect would be more than symbolic. Phillips remains on parole because of a 45-year sentence for one of his guilty pleas to sexual assault. That parole would end if the appeals court agreed with the judge's expected recommendation.

The hearing will not free Phillips, because he was released from prison late last year. He works as an assistant editor in a small Christian publishing company in the Dallas area, said Kreag, who declined to allow his client to be interviewed.

The DNA test that cleared Phillips was conducted last summer. In January, additional testing found that DNA evidence from the rape matched another man, Sidney Alvin Goodyear, who died in prison years ago.

The Innocence Project, a New York-based legal center specializing in wrongful convictions, filed court papers in June that said there was a "wide range of clear evidence" showing Phillips was innocent of all 11 crimes.

Link: http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_10062519?source=rss