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Brandon Moon marks three years of freedom
Posted: April 21, 2008 4:29 pm
Today marks the third anniversary of Brandon Moon’s exoneration in Texas. He was wrongfully convicted of a brutal rape in 1988 and sentenced to 75 years in prison. He served more than 16 years in prison before DNA testing proved his innocence and led to his release.
Moon became the main suspect after the victim viewed a photographic array and indicated that although Moon looked like the perpetrator, she couldn’t be sure. Resting on this hesitant identification, police secured a warrant and arrested Moon.
Moon was the only person in both the photographic and live lineup procedures and the victim identified him as the perpetrator in the live lineup. Additionally, Moon was identified as the perpetrator by two other women also believed to have been attacked by the same man.
Read more about eyewitness misidentification here.
At trial, a lab technician testified that Moon was a possible contributor of the evidence from the crime scene. Further testing during Moon’s appeals would prove that this testimony was seriously flawed, as the lab technician made inaccurate conclusions.
Read more about unreliable science here.
From the moment of his conviction, Moon began filing motions and appeals for DNA testing. He won access to DNA testing in 1989, but the results were deemed inconclusive because comparisons against the victim’s husband were not performed. He petitioned the court to allow for further testing, but was denied due to the court’s misconception that the other samples were unusable.
Finally, in 2001, Moon won access to further DNA testing and the results again excluded him as the perpetrator. In December 2004, Brandon Moon was released from prison and he was officially exonerated on April 21, 2005.
Read more about Brandon Moon’s case here.
Other exoneration anniversaries this week:
Today: Anthony D. Woods, Missouri (Served 18 years, Exonerated 4/21/05)
Wednesday: Anthony Hicks, Wisconsin (Served 5 years, Exonerated 4/23/97)
Walter Snyder, Virginia (Served 6.5 years, Exonerated 4/23/93)
Thursday: Hector Gonzalez, New York (Served 5.5 years, Exonerated 4/24/02)
Ray Krone, Arizona (Served 10 years, Exonerated 4/24/02)
Friday: David Shephard, New Jersey (Served 9.5 years, Exonerated 4/25/95)
Saturday: Alejandro Dominguez, Illinois (Served 4 years, Exonerated 04/06/2002)
Tags: Hector Gonzalez, Anthony Hicks, Ray Krone, Brandon Moon, David Shephard, Walter Snyder, Anthony D. Woods
Posted: May 9, 2008 3:10 pm
More stories from across the country this week on wrongful convictions, forensics and criminal justice reforms.
Dallas Morning News editorial: Bad prosecutors should face prison
NPR Morning Edition: Dallas man exonerated after 27 years in prison
Fingerprint error leads to wrongful arrest in Georgia case
American Bar Association Journal: Bite-Mark Evidence Loses Teeth
Innocence Project files for testing in Pennsylvania case (Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, 05/08/08)
Lack of funds stalls Virgina DNA testing project (Associated Press, 05/08/08)
Texas exoneree Brandon Moon blogged this week about spending Cinco de Mayo in Texas prisons, and his trip to Texas for the Summit on Wrongful Convictions.
Tags: Brandon Moon
The Texas Exonerated
Posted: October 27, 2008 4:05 pm
A feature in this month’s Texas Monthly profiles 37 people cleared with DNA testing after serving a combined 525 years in prison.
The first thing you notice is the eyes—they all have the same look in them, the look of men accustomed to waking up every morning in a prison cell. These 37 men spent years, and in some cases decades, staring through bars at a world that believed they were guilty of terrible crimes. But they weren’t. Each was convicted of doing something he did not do. It’s hard to characterize the look in their eyes. There’s anger, obviously, and pride at having survived hell, but there’s also hurt, and a question: “Why me?”Visit the Texas Monthly website for video of a photoshoot with 21 exonerees and audio slideshows telling the stories of more than a dozen.
The short answer is simple: People make mistakes. Most of these cases share a common story line: A woman, usually a traumatized rape victim, wrongly identifies her attacker. Sometimes her testimony is backed by rudimentary serology tests. Sometimes the cases are pushed too hard by aggressive police officers or prosecutors.
Tags: James Giles, Entre Nax Karage, Carlos Lavernia, Brandon Moon, Christopher Ochoa, Anthony Robinson, Ronald Taylor, James Waller, Patrick Waller, Gregory Wallis
Seventeen Years in Prison, Four Years Free
Posted: April 6, 2009 5:19 pm
Today marks the fourth anniversary of Brandon Moon’s exoneration in Texas. After spending 17 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit, Moon was freed in 2004 and officially exonerated on April 6, 2005.
On the morning of April 27, 1987, an El Paso woman was attacked and sexually assaulted in her home. She contacted police and biological evidence was collected at the hospital. Days after the crime, the victim viewed a photographic array that included Moon's picture. She indicated that Moon looked like the perpetrator but that she couldn't be sure. Days later, the police arrested Moon, and the victim identified him in a live lineup as the perpetrator of the crime. Moon was the only person in both the photographic and live lineup procedures.
At his trial, the victim testified that she was able to remember much of the perpetrator’s appearance, but could not determine his eye color or whether he had a moustache. The prosecution also presented testimony from a serologist who said that Moon was a possible contributor of the semen recovered from clothing at the victim’s home but incorrectly said that the semen could not have come from the victim’s husband or son. Moon testified that he was on his college campus at the time of the attack, and the defense presented evidence that Moon had been excluded as the source of hairs from the crime scene. He was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 75 years in prison.
In the years after his conviction, Moon continued to proclaim his innocence and began filing motions to have the evidence tested. He also contacted the Innocence Project, which accepted his case and obtained DNA testing on his behalf. The results proved Moon's innocence, and also pointed to serious flaws in the serology used in the trial.
After 17 years in prison, he was freed in December 2004 and his exoneration became official four years ago today.
Read more about Brandon Moon’s wrongful conviction here, visit his website exoneree.net, or watch a video interview with Moon and two other Texas exonerees.
Tags: Brandon Moon
Exonerees Who Served in the Military Observe Memorial Day 2012
Posted: May 25, 2012 12:35 pm
Photo (clockwise from top left): Larry Fuller, Kevin Green, Dennis Maher and Brandon Moon
Before their wrongful convictions, many of the DNA exonerees served in the U.S. armed forces. Former Marine Kevin Green, who was exonerated through DNA in 1996, will participate in his local Memorial Day ceremonies in Jefferson City, Missouri. He says, “Memorial Day is to honor those who served and gave their lives to protect our freedoms. Because of them, we must realize that freedom is not free. We work to protect it every day.”
Former Army Sergeant Dennis Maher, exonerated through DNA testing in 2003, says “Because of my wrongful conviction, I missed the opportunity to serve my country because I was going to be a career soldier. I think about that on Memorial Day.” Maher served almost six years on active duty before he was wrongfully convicted in 1984.
Like many other exonerees, Green and Maher still work to protect individual freedoms and civil liberties by speaking publicly about their wrongful convictions and advocating for criminal justice reforms.
Tags: Larry Fuller, Kevin Green, Dennis Maher, Brandon Moon