STORY: "Will New York follow Texas in criminal justice reform?" by Kate Pastor, published by "City Limits" on April 2, 2014.

PHOTO CAPTION:  "Gov. Rick Perry in May 2013 signed the Michael Morton Act, which made Texas an "open file" discovery state. New York legislators are wrestling with several versions of discovery reform."

SUB-HEADING:  "Defendants in New York don't get to see all the evidence against them. After several wrongful convictions, pressure is building to follow the Lone Star's lead and fix the system."

GIST: "Alberto Ramos was a 21-year-old college student and part-time substitute teacher's aide, aspiring to be a teacher, when he was accused and then convicted in 1985 of raping a five-year-old in the Bronx day-care center where he worked. In a case based largely on the child’s sworn testimony, Ramos was accused of taking a girl into the Concourse Day Care bathroom during nap time. She was found to have vaginal bruising and her grandmother testified that when she picked her up from school, the child was crying. Amid media-fueled hysteria over a wave of child sex abuse in day-care centers, Ramos was found guilty. Joel Rudin, who laid out Ramos’ case in The Fordham Law Review in 2011, writes that when Ramos was convicted of two counts of rape in the first degree “He screamed in agony, ‘Kill me.’”In 1992, the conviction was overturned after the alleged victim’s mother filed a civil suit against both the New York City-funded day-care center and Ramos. The city’s insurance settled, but a civil defense attorney—who was able to obtain evidence that Ramos did not have access to for his criminal case—believed Ramos was innocent. The lawyer got permission to share the information with Ramos, who had been suffering severe abuse in prison for seven years on an 8-and-1/3 to 25-year sentence as a child rapist. Among the omissions that could have aided in Ramos’ defense was a log showing that the grandmother who testified against him had not, in fact, picked the girl up from day-care that day in 1984. There was evidence showing other reasons for the child’s vaginal irritation and an interview in which the girl had initially denied Ramos raped her. None of it had been turned over."

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