Tim Cole Commission sets up guidelines to reduce wrongful convictions

Timothy Cole was wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting a student at Texas Tech University in 1985 and maintained he was innocent until he died in prison in 1999.

The commission created in Cole’s name first came to life during the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature and was dismantled on December 1, 2016 after a final report was presented to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Legislature, and the Texas Judicial Council. Cory Session, Cole’s brother, said the commission was instituted to perform specific tasks. Session noted, “The design behind the exoneration review commission is … to have those people on there ahead of time instead of us just showing up at a committee hearing and then somebody shooting it down.”

According to a report from the commission, faulty eyewitness identification was the number one cause of wrongful convictions in Texas since 2010. Furthermore, a survey of 850 law enforcement agencies showed 68.2% of them record interrogations while 38.1% do not. According to the Lubbock Police Department, “Interviews should be video recorded when possible. When video recording is unavailable, interviews should be audio recorded; when audio recording is unavailable, a written statement should be obtained.”

Everyone has the right to be legally represented in court, so obtain the legal services of our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter by calling our Dallas offices today at (214) 845-7007.

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