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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

133rd Person Exonerated from Death Row

From the Death Penalty Information Center

Daniel Wade Moore was acquitted of all charges by a jury in Alabama on May 14. Moore was originally found guilty of the murder and sexual assault of Karen Tipton in 2002. The judge overruled the jury’s recommendation of a life sentence and instead sentenced him to death in January 2003, calling the murder one of the worst ever in the county. A new trial was ordered in 2003 because of evidence withheld by the prosecution. A second trial in 2008 ended in a mistrial with the jury deadlocked at 8-4 for acquittal. (Moore is the 133rd person to be exonerated and freed from death row since 1973, according to DPIC's record of exonerations.)
Just last week, the 132nd innocent person was exonerated.
132. Paul House Tennessee Conviction: 1986, Charges Dismissed: 2009

The state of Tennessee dropped all charges against House, who was accused of the 1985 rape and murder of Carolyn Muncey based largely on circumstantial evidence. Biological evidence used against him at trial was later found through DNA testing to belong to Muncey's husband. In House v. Bell, the U.S. Supreme Court considered the new DNA tesing and questions about blood stains on House's clothes. In 2006, the Court held that no reasonable juror would have found House guilty based on this new evidence, thus entitling him to raise constitutional issues that led to a reversal of his conviction. In 2008, a Tennessee judge ordered House released from prison, pending a new trial.

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