James Waller, 50, a Dallas man whose conviction of raping a boy in 1982 cost him nearly half his life in prison and on parole, won a court ruling yesterday declaring him innocent, reports the New York Times. Waller was exonerated by DNA testing, the 12th person since 2001 whose conviction in Dallas County has been overturned long after the fact as a result of genetic evidence. “Nowhere else in the nation have so many individual wrongful convictions been proven in one county in such a short span,” said Barry Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project, which represented Waller. Scheck said those 12 such instances are more than have occurred anywhere else except the entire states of New York and Illinois since the nation's first DNA exoneration, in 1989.
Waller who spent more than 10 years behind bars before he was paroled in 1993. “I'm sorry that happened to you, man,” Craig Watkins, the county's new district attorney, told Waller. The case against Waller was largely based on the 12-year-old victim's identification of him.