Wed, January 05, 2011
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U.S. prisoner cleared after 30 years

2011-01-05 05:01:47 GMT2011-01-05 13:01:47 (Beijing Time)

Cornelius Dupree Jr. was jailed in 1980 by a U.S. court for the rape and robbery of a woman in Texas.

Three decades on he's finally been cleared by DNA evidence.

SOUNDBITE: Dallas County Court Judge Don Adams saying (English):

"You're free to go. Thank you very much. Sorry for everything."

As he left court with his wife and legal team Dupree, who was released from jail last July but remained under house arrest, gave his reaction.

SOUNDBITE: Cornelius Dupree Jr, wrongly convicted of rape and robbery, saying (English):

"I am happy, I am kind of feeling mixed emotions. You know, after 30 years that is a hard...that is a hard walk. I just want to say that words really won't make up for what I've lost, you know, I lost both my parents. I just feel that, you know, the justice system needs to be fixed by whatever means, you know, so it just won't happen to anyone else."

But Barry Scheck, one of Dupree's lawyers and co-director of a campaign group seeking to exonerate prisoners wrongly convicted, says the case is not unique.

SOUNDBITE: Barry Scheck, Dupree lawyer and co-director of the Innocence Project, saying (English):

"This is the 20th post-conviction DNA exoneration in Dallas, more than any other city in the United States. It's the 40th post-conviction DNA exoneration in the state of Texas, more than any other state in the country. Cornelius Dupree served 30 years in jail, in prison, for a crime he didn't commit, which is the largest number of years anyone has ever served in the state of Texas for a crime he didn't commit."

Dupree now faces the prospect of picking up the threads of a life mostly - and unjustly - spent behind bars.

(Source, Reuters)

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