Here is the number 1 of the top ten Texas death penalty news stories of 2015. I have been posting what I consider the most important news stories regarding the Texas death penalty. You can see the full list at the Texas Moratorium Network website. The number one story concerns the issue of innocence, which in my opinion is the issue that has been driving the debate around the death penalty in recent years. The president elected in 2016 will likely have an opportunity to appoint one or more people to the U.S. Supreme Court and if that happens the death penalty could be ruled unconstitutional within the next president’s term.
1) Alfred Dewayne Brown was exonerated and released after more than ten years on Texas death row for a crime he did not commit. He walked free and into the loving arms of his family and friends on June 8, 2015. “I went in an innocent man and I came out an innocent man,” said Brown. He has been placed on the Death Penalty Information Center’s Innocence List as Exoneree #154.
Lisa Falkenberg, a columnist for the Houston Chronicle, took notice of Dewayne and wrote a series of articles concerning Dewayne Brown and the Harris County grand jury system. On April 20, 2015, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her series.
Dewayne has flourished since his release. He has re-united as a free man with his daughter. He has a job now. He enjoys taking care of his horses. He has traveled to speak about his case in Washington, D.C and in Austin at a press conference we held on October 24.
Dewayne spent 12 years, 2 months and 5 days behind bars for something he had no part in. That is 4,449 days or 106,776 hours of his life that was stolen from him. Nearly every one of those days were spent in solitary in a cell no larger that a small bathroom.
Together with other friends, Texas Moratorium Network created a fundraising campaign for Dewayne and raised a total of $6,775 to help him readjust to life in freedom . The donation page is still active, if anyone would like to donate to him. He has not received any compensation from Texas and it may be a long time, if ever, that he gets compensation from Texas.