Friday, April 22, 2005

Innocence Does It Again

The Innocence Project does it again. This time, they've used DNA evidence to prove that Anthony Woods was not the man who raped a 15-year-old girl in 1983, even though he spent 18 years behind bars for that crime. There had been zero physical evidence against woods, but the girl testified that he was the one after seeing him walking down the street. Nothing else linked him to the crime, but he was convicted. Woods was paroled in 2002, but now his record his clear, and the question lingers, how will Missouri make it up to him?

The Post-Dispatch reports, "under a bill signed last summer that imposed DNA testing on convicted felons, sex offenders and sexually violent predators in Department of Corrections custody, Woods is now eligible for compensation - $50 'for each day of incarceration.' That could mean more than $330,000, but only if the money is available. The law says that former inmates get paid only if there is money left after the cost of DNA testing has been subtracted from the money generated by court fees."

As for the girl (now in her mid-thirties), she must be devastated. Not only does it turn out that the man she ID'd as the rapist could not have committed the crime and spent all that time in prison because of her mistake, but it also means that the actual attacker has gotten away with it.

Woods is the 158th person exonerated by the work of The Innocence Project.