Monday, October 26, 2020

Lydell Grant: Texas: Perplexing case is subject of blistering Texas Monthly article by stellar journalist Michael Hall, headed: "It's the most outrageous thing I've ever seen. It makes no sense."

NOTICE: Check out the  new (weekly)  post on my  'Selfless Warriors Blog' released earlier today today at the link below: "Gloria Killian, an innocent person who spent more than 16 years wrongfully in prison was telling the truth when  she protested from the outset that she knew nothing about the horrifying crime. She had been caught in a web of lies spun by an addict who implicated her in order to protect his wife from being prosecuted for her role in the crime. None of the 'real'  evidence in the case  implicated Gloria. But she had been convicted, lost her appeal, and lost hope, resigned to spending much of the rest of her life behind bars.  It was game over - the  rest of her life likely in prison  - until "a petite white-haired woman with piercing blue eyes"  came along. It was Joyce Ride. A truly 'Selfless Warrior.' "




BACKGROUND: "Then there's Lydell Grant: Falsely convicted despite a legitimate alibi, based on multiple eyewitnesses' testimony which DNA results later contradicted. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals wants the witnesses re-questioned, even though DNA evidence contradicted their recollections and the person the DNA matched has confessed to the crime! In essence, Texas' court system would rather uphold a bad conviction than free an innocent man, and it's hardly the first time." (Grits For Breakfast).


STORY: "It's  the most outrageous thing I've ever seen. It makes no sense," by  reporter Michael Hall, published by Texas Monthly, on October 21, 2020.

SUB-HEADING:"DNA evidence proved Lydell Grant's innocence. So why won't the state's highest court exonerate him?

GIST: (This is a massive, complex, multi-layered story that deserves to be read in its entirety. Here is a taste: "The reaction was swift. The Houston Chronicle called the decision  (to re-question witnesses) “shameful.” Ware  (Mike Ware, the executive director of the Innocence Project of Texas) said  he had never seen anything like it. “The trial judge, DA, and police chief—each of them says he’s innocent. All of a sudden, the judges are ignoring DNA, questioning its validity as a science, and they want the trial court to get the witnesses to recant. It’s the most outrageous thing I’ve ever seen. It makes no sense.” The DNA scientist Ambers was flummoxed (“I don’t know what else Grant could do—it doesn’t get any more definitive than that”), as were prosecutors in the Harris County DA’s office. They noted that the CCA’s order made it harder to prosecute Carter, who, based on the new DNA evidence and his statements to police, they regard as actually guilty of the murder. Multiple former CCA judges were outraged. “Lydell Grant has overwhelming evidence on his side,” said Elsa Alcala, a judge on the court from 2011 to 2018. “This is beyond reasonable doubt. This is beyond all doubt. There’s no rational explanation for the court’s action.” Alcala acknowledged that the spring was a chaotic, terrible time for the court. “But I don’t cut the CCA any slack. The Texas Supreme Court cleared its docket.” Cathy Cochran, who served on the CCA from 2001 to 2014 after working as both a prosecutor and defense attorney, said, “Another remand further delays justice for the obviously innocent Lydell Grant, and it insults the diligence of the trial judge, the DA, and law enforcement in righting this.” ................................In spite of all his experiences, Grant remains upbeat, certain the CCA will exonerate him. He has thought often about the compensation, part of which he plans to use to buy a truck and a trailer and start a trash-hauling business. “I love trucks. All my buddies at the chemical plants had trucks.” But one song he thinks could actually be a hit is a rap he wrote soon after being released. He had just had dinner at his brother Alonzo’s house, and he was sitting at the dining room table when he began spontaneously humming a beat. He found himself singing the words “I’m not guilty.” That phrase wasn’t exactly right, though. He revised it, and began repeating a new line, almost like a mantra. Soon a melody arose. He turned the new phrase over in his mind, and then pulled out a pen and paper as more words came to him. The lyrics captured the story of his life: from arrest, to trial, to prison, to freedom. Some of the lines he conjured were philosophical: “Whatever’s done in the dark, it shall surface.” Others were inspirational: “Never give up!” Still others revealed Grant’s love of rhyme and wordplay. “I don’t need the stress,” he wrote, “I’m like, what’s next? Mike Ware and the Innocence Project!” Grant sat at the table for hours, toying with rhymes, writing, rewriting, remembering. Just before sunrise, he finished. Heading off to bed, he ran through the song one more time, three long verses and a melodic chorus that was as simple and as true as he could possibly make it. “I’m actually innocent,” sang Lydell Grant, “ ’cause I didn’t do it.”"


The entire story can be read at:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic"  section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."
Lawyer Radha Natarajan:
Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;
FINAL, FINAL WORD (FOR NOW!): "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they’ve exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!
Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;