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Ronald Gene Taylor

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"You have not converted a man because you have silenced him."
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« on: July 16, 2008, 03:34:33 pm »

Governor pardons Houston man wrongly convicted of ****

02:55 PM CDT on Friday, June 20, 2008

Associated Presss

HOUSTON - A man wrongfully convicted of **** 13 years ago was pardoned by Gov. Rick Perry, clearing Ronald Gene Taylor’s name eight months after he was released from prison after DNA evidence found him innocent of the crime.

Though Perry signed the pardon June 13, Taylor and his lawyers received notice Thursday.

“It’s been hard to get restarted,” Taylor said in a report in the Houston Chronicle on a phone interview from Atlanta. “Little things, like filling out a job application or renting an apartment are hard when you have to say you are a convicted felon. Now, I am officially a free man. I am so relieved.”

He moved to Atlanta in October and got married two months later.

This spring he started his own lawn care business.

Taylor, 48, was accused of attacking a woman in her Third Ward home, which sat less than a mile from where Taylor lived in Houston. Prosecutors built a case on the victim’s identification of Taylor and the testimony of a Houston crime lab analyst.

Two years after the attack, jurors at Taylor’s 1995 trial found him guilty, and a judge sentenced him to 60 years in prison.

The Innocence Project, a New York-based nonprofit that defends the wrongly convicted, accepted the case in 1998 after a request from Taylor’s stepfather.

As the lawyers worked, a forensics scandal at the Houston Police Department crime lab raised skepticism on thousands of convictions.  In 2006, a judge ordered DNA tests on evidence from Taylor’s case.

The new tests instead led authorities to Roosevelt Carroll, who has a history of violent sexual crimes and is serving a 15-year sentence in a Texas prison for failing to register as a sex offender. He cannot be prosecuted for the 1993 attack because the statute of limitations has expired.

Taylor became the third man acquitted after being convicted with faulty evidence from the HPD crime lab.

The governor’s pardon clears the way for Taylor to collect about $700,000 from the state, if he agrees not to sue over his case.  Taylor told the Chronicle he is weighing his options.
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