The Texas county I was tried, wrongfully convicted, and sentenced to 40 years in, Harris County, is the indisputable Death Row Capital of the civilized world, having both put and had successfully executed more people on Death Row than any other state and civilized country. Harris County's crime lab was exposed several years ago by the national media and the federal government for their careless, inexcusable mishandling of DNA and other physical evidence. A Harris County Sheriff and DA were caught red-handed with offensive, discriminatory racial jokes in their computers from emails they were sharing with other officials. Since the advent of DNA science and technology to identify people by their genetic fingerprint, there have been more exonerations from people sitting in Texas prison cells-most with over 20 flat years done-than in any other state. Do you see a pattern?
As a 17-year-old with a new-boot court appointed attorney, Harris County was where I was railroaded with a 40 year sentence 19 years ago. Unless I was a millionaire and able to hire the best lawyers money could buy, I didn't stand a chance beating a crooked Texas system who obviously had a lot of practice at wrongfully convicting innocent people. Tell me how a white kid (me) get found guilty when ALL the original statements given by the victims and witnesses (even the 911 tapes) said the suspects were three BLACK MALES? Do you know that back then (1995), Texas laws did not allow my attorney to have a copy of the police report? He was only allowed to look at it. I heard the laws have since changed. When I say EVERY victim and witness said, in their original statements, that the suspects were three BLACK MALES, I am not exaggerating. I have to tip my hat to Harris County because this just shows how good they are at what they do and the "perfect" system they have created to lock people up, guilty and the innocent, for a really long time. The fact that Texas leads the nation in wrongful convictions, and thus exonerations, shows that whatever tactics and strategies detective/District Attorneys are using to notch a conviction are working. Once the truth does come out, 20 or more years later, then it's too late, a person, like me, has paid a criminal debt to society with the best years of our lives, while a young hot-shot detective or DA used the wrongful conviction to get re-elected, promoted, or to advance their careers, again, all of it in the name of 'reducing crime.'
I am writing this blog from a prison cell, so it's apparent I didn't give those two detectives the answers they wanted back in 1995. When they slapped the cuffs on me, I had no idea that I would begin the longest, most difficult journey of my life that would consist of me doing 19 calendar years in a prison cell. Texas, Harris County specifically, is responsible for my wrongful conviction and will soon be responsible for giving me justice one day soon by exonerating me.
Even with my wrongful conviction and all I've been through, I believe the journey I have traveled all these years behind prison fences/walls is for a reason, and I probably wouldn't change the course of my journey if I could. Now you think I'm crazy (smile), no, I haven't gone insane (not yet), but I may be a little crazy, everyone is these days. If discovering my ultimate purpose in life from my most painful life tragedy makes me crazy then put me in a straight-jacket because I don't think I would of become the resilient, educated man I am today without enduring and fighting my wrongful conviction.
Let's Keep up the Fight, Shawn Ali