Dallas Court Officially Declares Cornelius Dupree Jr., Innocent After 30 Years In Prison

Categories: Crime
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Photos by Andrea Grimes
Cornelius Dupree Jr., surrounded by friends, family and many of his fellow DNA exonerees, was officially declared innocent of robbery and sexual assault this morning in Dallas court.
"It's a joy to be free again," Cornelius Dupree Jr. told a courtroom full of lawyers, courthouse staff, media members and several fellow DNA exonerees this morning during his very brief testimony. Dupree spent 30 years in jail serving time for a robbery and rape he did not commit, but the hearing that exonerated him took only a few minutes. He served the most time of any person exonerated by DNA in Dallas County. After the judge told him he was free to go, applause and cries of "All right!" erupted in the courtroom.

In 2006, the Innocence Project took on Dupree's case, and the organization's director, Barry Scheck, was on hand calling today "this glorious day." Surrounded by exonerees, Scheck said that "the men behind me are in an exclusive club" that no one should ever belong to -- those wrongly convicted by eyewitness testimony.

He spoke at length about the necessity of reforming witness identification procedures in the 82nd Texas Legislature, which begins next week.

"I'm sick and tired of coming to this place," Scheck half-joked, referring to trips to Dallas to represent wrongfully convicted inmates. He called upon the courtroom to "march in lockstep to Austin" to ask legislators to rethink the way witness identification works in Texas.

Dupree, who is 51 now but was 21 when he was incarcerated in 1980 after a fudged eyewitness lineup resulted in faulty eyewitness identification, smiled broadly during the proceedings but spoke of "mixed emotions" about his official declaration of innocence. He's been out on parole since July of last year and married his wife the day he was released.

Still, he told reporters, "Words really can't make up for what I lost." While serving time, he said, "it was only by the grace of God that I was able to sustain."
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Nichelle
Nichelle

THE STATE OF TEXAS SHOULD TAKE CARE OF HIM AND HIS FAMILY FINANCIALLY FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. IT IS SO SAD THAT IT TOOK 30YEARS FOR THEM TO REALIZE THAT HE IS INNOCENT. NICHELLE 43

Helen210
Helen210

How about charging the jurors and putting them in jail in retribution? with the prosecutor as well as the witnesses who lied? Surely that will put a halt to convictions on flimsy and unsupported testimonies >

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Its not necessarily the jurors fault though. If they were instructed by the judge to interpret the evidence that was presented, and the eveidence presented (whether true or false) shows the man to be guilty, what other choice do the jurors have than to convict. This falls more on the investigators first, then the prosecutors.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

Cornelius Dupree, Jr. is a living and breathing testimonial to why capital punishment should be abolished. Because human beings design and operate the criminal justice system it cannot be made 100% certain and without that certainty the State has no business putting anyone to death.

Galdosiano18
Galdosiano18

Who can trust the court system of the United States? How many innocent black men are sitting in prison, or have become victims of prison as in the case of wrongfully convicted young man from Lubbock, Tim Cole? How many innocent people have been executed in Texas and in the United States because of prosecutorial incompetence and careerism? What individuals will pay for TIm Cole's and Cornelius Dupree's wasted lives? In spite of the 'happy ending' this case reveals the horrid prison mentality, lust for death, and inhumanity of the American people.

Marie317
Marie317

he should get one million dollars for every year spent in jail, plus a new house, plus a new car, plus a good job, plus anything else that man wants, what a discrace. the problem is the juries are not hearing the evidence, they're hearing the rumors.

Nizel
Nizel

i'm not sure about the "hearing the rumors" part... if anything, it's our reliance on witness testimony.

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