If you want to know just how shaky and unreliable eyewitness identifications can be, just ask Patrick Waller, who was recently ordered released from prison by a judge in Dallas, Texas after DNA testing showed that police and prosecutors had locked up the wrong man.
According to a recent story on CNN.com, Waller’s ordeal began in 1992 when two men kidnapped a couple and stole several hundred dollars. The men also sexually assaulted the woman after tying up the man. Another couple who drove up to the scene was also held at gunpoint. A security guard arrived and scared off the men, who fled in separate cars. Three of the four people abducted picked Waller in a photo lineup. The fourth later picked him out of a live lineup. Waller maintained his innocence and presented an alibi at trial but was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He also pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping, fearing more life sentences if he were to be convicted, said his lawyer.
In 2001 and 2005, Waller, professing his innocence, sought to have DNA testing performed, but his petitions were opposed by Dallas County prosecutors, and denied by the courts. Waller filed another petition in 2007, which was granted. The Dallas County prosecutor’s office announced that DNA evidence had cleared Waller and matched the profile of another man. That suspect identified his accomplice, and both men subsequently confessed in front of a grand jury, prosecutors said. Neither man is in prison, although one is on parole, but neither man will face criminal charges because the statute of limitations has expired.
At Wallin & Klarich, we approach every case with the belief that the person we’re defending could easily be one of our own family members. We’ve seen firsthand how stressful legal matters can be for our clients and their loved ones. We are committed to being available to our clients at all times — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges in Southern California, you should call Wallin & Klarich today for a free evaluation of your case. Call 1-888-749-0034 and visit us at www.wklaw.com. We will be there when you call.