Those Freed-Man Blues
It’s a nightmare that has provided rich fodder for a host of myths, stories and movies (think Shawshank Redemption) --- rotting in prison for a crime you did not commit. Which is why, a couple years ago, when Dallas Blues Society Records’ Chuck Nevitt saw a lawyer he knew on television celebrating the exoneration of a wrongfully convicted client, he was moved. “I was like, 'You’re my hero!'” Nevitt says of Michelle Moore, an attorney who, through her work with the Innocence Project of Texas, has helped win the freedom of several wrongfully convicted inmates using DNA evidence.
Nevitt met Moore years ago at a Sons of Hermann Hall blues show, and when she approached him recently with the idea of putting on a blues festival to benefit the Innocence Project (DNA testing ain’t cheap), he was happy to take it on.
After all, Dallas County leads the country in DNA exonerations, with 13, and District Attorney Craig Watkins is partnering with the Innocence Project’s collection of lawyers and law students to examine hundreds of other wrongful conviction claims.
Nevitt’s DNA Blues Ball will include national blues headliners and topical speakers, including Watkins and several exonerees. It’s not scheduled until November, but he’s looking for sponsors and people willing to help out. If you’re interested, visit the Innocence Project of Texas or Nevitt’s blog. --Megan Feldman