Wrongfully Convicted San Antonio 4 Exonerated
by Stephen Lendman
On Thanksgiving Day eve, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals exonerated Kristie Mayhugh, Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera and Anna Vasquez, four lesbian women – ruling convictions on charges of sexually assaulting two children, aged seven and nine, didn’t pass “the smell test.”
“Those defendants have won the right to proclaim to the citizens of Texas that they did not commit a crime,” justices declared. “They are innocent. And they are exonerated. This court grants them the relief they seek.”
Unjustly sentenced to terms ranging from 15 to 37 years, they were imprisoned for over a decade. Evidence against them later began unraveling.
An accuser recanted her accusation and pediatrician Nancy Kellogg, the prosecution’s star medical witness, belatedly debunked the so-called scientific basis for her earlier testimony.
As a result, Vasquez was released in 2012, the others in 2013. Yet wrongful convictions remained on their record, re-imprisonment possible until Wednesday – giving Thanksgiving Day new meaning for four victims of US injustice, free at last.
According to Bexar County Criminal District Attorney Nico LaHood, Wednesday’s “ruling prevents any further prosecution of these cases.” Under state law, exoneration entitles them to what one report called “hefty checks from the state for their wrongful imprisonment.”
Thousands of others remain incarcerated, including numerous political prisoners, locked in cages unjustly.
I’ve written dozens of articles about them, including on what Sentencing Project executive director Marc Mauer calls America’s “Race to Incarcerate” – harming society’s most vulnerable.
They’re targeted for supporting ethnic justice, racial emancipation, and political, economic and social equality across gender and color lines – countless others for crimes they didn’t commit, including false accusations of murder.
Who supports their struggle for justice on Thanksgiving Day or any other day of the year?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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