Johnnie Lindsey Spent 26 Years Wrongfully Locked Up, But the State Won't Pay For Eight

Categories: The Courts

johnnie-lindsey.jpg
If a man spends 26 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit, you can bet he's going to want every cent he can get through the state's statutory compensation plan for the wrongfully imprisoned. We spoke with Johnnie Lindsey for this week's cover story about the ongoing legal battle between Lubbock personal-injury attorney Kevin Glasheen and exoneree Steven Phillips over fees Glasheen says he's owed for his efforts to convince the state to raise the compensation rate from $50,000 for each year of wrongful imprisonment to $160,000.

Lindsey decided not to sign with Glasheen and filed for compensation with the comptroller himself following the enactment of the Timothy Cole Act in September 2009. But the comptroller refused to pay Lindsey for eight years of his sentence, because along with the 26 he served for rape, he served another eight at the same time for a crime to which he pleaded guilty. He appealed the decision, but the state refused to reconsider in December 2009. So this morning, Lindsey filed suit against the comptroller in the Supreme Court of Texas, petitioning the justices to force the state to pay up.

This isn't the first time the comptroller has been taken before the Texas Supremes for rejecting wrongful imprisonment claims. As we noted last week, Billy Frederick Allen is contesting the state's wholesale denial of his claim, based on a murky appeals court order it says doesn't add up to a declaration of innocence. And in March, Billy James Smith won a conditional ruling that forced the state to pay for an extra year of time he'd served because his wrongful conviction for a sex assault revoked his parole on a separate robbery charge. The court's decision freed up compensation for two other exonerees with similar circumstances.

Johnnie Lindsey's case is no different, according to his lawyer, Kris Moore, formerly Glasheen's co-counsel in the controversial exoneree compensation cases.

On the morning of October 17, 1982, Lindsey was sitting on a park bench near White Rock Lake. He struck up a conversation with a jogger -- a white woman -- who he says abruptly ended the conversation and took off down the trail. A group of joggers passed, her husband among them.

After a few minutes, Lindsey got into his car and left the park. Later that day, he answered the door bare-chested and barefooted. It was the police, asking him to come down to the station for questioning. Refusing to let him dress, the police put him in the back of the cruiser and drove him back to the park. In an affidavit, Lindsey says he saw the woman he'd met and her husband talking to an officer. The officer brought the woman near the car, and she bent over and peered in at Lindsey.

He was booked on an attempted rape charge. Lindsey professed his innocence, even offering to testify in person before a grand jury. His lawyer, however, advised him to take a plea deal. There were no witnesses. It would be her word (a white woman) against his (a black man) in Dallas in 1982. The case was a loser, his lawyer told him. He'd get eight years at most and be out in four on good behavior. Against his instincts, he took the deal and began serving his sentence in the Ellis Unit in Huntsville.

That was December of 1982. A few months later, Lindsey received a warrant from the Dallas County prosecutor implicating him in a rape on a moonless night in August 1981 along that same jogging path. The victim, another white woman, picked Lindsey out of a photo line-up of six men. In the line-up, only Lindsey and one other man were shirtless. A witness to the rape picked another man, but changed her mind when the prosecutor told her the victim identified Lindsey. He was convicted in March 1983 and sentenced to life in prison.

In 2007, after four different motions for DNA testing were shot down, the trial court granted the fifth and appointed Michelle Moore, an attorney with the Dallas County Public Defender's office, to represent him. On September 9, the results of the DNA testing ruled Lindsey out as the White Rock Lake rapist. He was released on September 19.

The question now before the State Supreme Court is whether Lindsey should be compensated for at least a portion of the eight years he spent locked for the attempted rape charge. By attorney Moore's calculation, under the mandatory release statute, Lindsey would have been released in four. He's willing to settle for four because there is no DNA involved in the attempted rape to conclusively prove his innocence. The court found for Billy Smith and awarded him compensation for the revoked parole, Moore argues, so what's different in Lindsey's case?

It goes without saying that the kinks have yet to be worked out of the statutory compensation scheme and the way it's applied by the comptroller's office. As a result, some two years after the bill's passage, exonerees still have to spend their compensation cash on attorney's fees to get what is rightfully owed.

In Re Johnnie Lindsey Petition


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30 comments
Anthony Zarat
Anthony Zarat

Does anyone have the courage to ask hard questions here?

1) How can a man spend 26 years in prison for this crime (even if he WAS guilty)?2) What role did feminism play in transforming justice into cruel vengeance?3) What role did feminism play in this tragedy, by persuading a jury that “women don’t lie about rape”?4) How many tens of thousands of guilty men face not justice, but vengeance — that is cruel and unusual by any decent standard?5) How many tens of thousands of INNOCENT men face the same savage punishment, because of the lie that “women never lie about rape”?6) When will we, as a nation and as a culture, come to terms with the incalculable damage that feminist prejudice has done to hundreds of thousands of lives?7) When will good men and women begin to speak up against this kind of barbaric brutality? 8) When will good men and women re-discover that when men feel pain, it hurts just as much, as when women feel pain?9) When will we re-discover compassion for men and boys?10) When will we have a conversation about how we lost the ability to feel compassion for men and boys in the first place?

Russell
Russell

50-160K per year! What was this guys earning potential? Was he even employed? As a taxpayer I don't think I owe him a dime.

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AlexAdam90208

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Rapist or murderer next?
Rapist or murderer next?

Last week the observer tried to make is sympathze with a dumbass who shot at a crowd with an AK-47, killing a girl. This week, it is a rapist.

Who will be the violent black criminal that the white-guilt "progressive advocacy journalist" Observer Libtards try to guilt us with next week? LOL

Mike
Mike

Is it 100% guranteed that he would have not served his full 8 years?  His time was 8 years and maybe he might have gotten out earlier.  Are there no convicts in TX in the last 30 years that have served their entire time?  I doubt it.  We don't know what might have happened to him and we don't pay out money for what we don't know.

Whit-Guilt Libtards suck
Whit-Guilt Libtards suck

Why do the bleeding-heart white-guilt libtard "journalists" at the D-O expect us to care? The dude is an ACTUAL RAPIST. He should have been EXECUTED for his FIRST RAPE. Oh yeah.... He may not be guilty for rape #2, unlike rape #1, but some other black guy is. How much do you want to bet that the victim of the rape that this guy ACTUALLY COMMITTED is white?

Scott Henson
Scott Henson

Just curious: If, upon winning the compensation, his lawyer seeks to be paid for services according to the terms of the contract Lindsey signed, will you then publish a cover story excoriating him? That seems to be the current fashion.

pencil
pencil

Just sitting on the park bench, strikes up conversation with strange white woman, she runs off, later the police appear at his home.Me thinks this person was no stranger to law enforcement.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

I have read about Mr. Lindsey before.  I can not read anymore.   This story breaks my heart and I find myself sobbing throughout the day thinking about it.  This is basic human rights and I don't know how anyone associated with our system could not understand why this man should be compensated.  BTW...if anyone associated with these..needs someone to volunteer to help with mailing, emailing,office sort of work, ..or whatever I can do.  Something must be done and perhaps we need a protest.  

scottindallas
scottindallas

It happens a lot.  I suppose he should have sunk his family fortune into in defense.  These plea bargains are economic considerations.  I think that in addition of financial compensation the prosecution should be shaved, dressed in a mini-skirt and sent to gen. pop. and the guards turn their backs for a few hours.  Isn't that the golden rule, do onto others as they did to you?

Jay
Jay

Sorry he got locked up for a crime he didn't commit. But his White Rock Lake story doesn't make any sense at all, and he pleaded guilty.

huh?
huh?

What am I missing? Why should he get money for the time he spent on the charge he was convicted?

BHargrove
BHargrove

There's a mandatory release statute, which isn't optional, intended to ease overcrowding in Texas prisons. At the time, Lindsey was eligible for 45 good conduct time credits for every 30 calendar days served as a trusty.

anon
anon

don't be so rude and racist! doesn't matter if they are black or white, still committed a crime!! half the stories you read about perverts, murderers and pedos are white people. I think everyone is equal no matter what colour. I'm white and i still treat everyone equal.

scottindallas
scottindallas

HEY, WE HAVEN'T SEEN YOU IN A WHILE.  DID YOUR GRANNY GET RAPED BY A BLACK MAN?  Last time I checked rape doesn't come with the death penalty, but it seems that you failed to learn empathy from your granny's rape, or your rape, or whatever.  You can move to Saudi Arabia, Somalia or Pakistan where they might execute for rape, otherwise, no state has deemed rape worthy of the death penalty. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

what you describe is a sticky wicket.  That said, Glasheen could have a job working outside or doing some real work.  I respect (some/many/most) attys, and they need to be paid for their work.  Certainly, cash moves moves the world, lawyers are no different.  The Travolta movie "the Client" captures what contingency fee attys face.  What really pisses me off is when people argue that lawyers offer the same defense regardless of compensation--that, is an out and out lie.

BHargrove
BHargrove

Who got excoriated? Glasheen. I doubt he feels the way you do.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Yes. Every black man who talks to a white woman is a criminal. The fact that assholes like you would have been in his jury pool is the reason he pleaded out. Because 30 years ago there would have been even more of you.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Jacke, you made me tear up.  See, you don't have to all shock and awe to be effective. 

BCulbreath
BCulbreath

Back in the day of Henry Wade you would be surprised at how many Black men pleaded guilty to crimes they did not commit out of fear.Dallas County had history of harming and scaring people into confessions.I know its hard to believe but it happen.

thefncrow
thefncrow

Because without the second charge, the bogus charge, he wouldn't have done the whole 8 years on the first charge. This is explicitly explained in the article.  Did you actually read the whole thing before posting?

Mike
Mike

If he has good behavior.  Nothing is certain.

pencil
pencil

I wondered how long it would take a jerk off like you to throw the race card.

The question remains: Does he have a prior criminal record?

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

Scott ..you are 100 percent right.......it may be the combination of shock and awe and being a knee jerk sort of guy. Either way, I have a wealthy therapist. 

Theladymagic Gadsden
Theladymagic Gadsden

Black people period have had to serve time for not only crimes they did not  comment, but crimes that never happen. it's not new. but what is amazing, is that some many folks that are not Black, no matter how many times they hear of it keep believing that it's no big deal.

Jay
Jay

A different account of the sexual assault charge from http://goodmenproject.com/fath...

"He worked in the commercial laundry across the street, he was a 30-year-old black man, and he had a criminal record that included rape. Six years earlier, Johnnie had pled guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in his neighborhood. “I was very young,” he tells me later. “It was very stupid. And I never denied it.” He says by the time of the White Rock Lake rape, he was getting his life in order. He was getting off drugs. He was holding down a steady job."

Is this the same episode as the White Rock attempted rape, or another arrest? And yet another report from the DA's office said he also served time for aggravated robbery. Again, he was convicted of a crime he didn't commit, and is due compensation, but not for time served for other crimes.

BHargrove
BHargrove

"Nothing is certain," except when you have the benefit of hindsight, which we do in this case. I'm not sure what your argument is here. Looking back on his record, given the number of good behavior credits he received, he would have been out in four years if not for the wrongful rape conviction. That isn't conjecture. If the question is how many years should Johnnie Lindsey be compensated for, you can say that definitively by examining his prison record.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Priors really have no bearing on any specific case. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

I realized as I was writing that I was projecting a bit too.  That's what always stings about our most acerbic rants--Dylan too acknowledged this about his most scathing songs, he was condemning none other than himself. 

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