The Dallas County District Attorney’s office will ask a state district judge to release 39 year old deaf man Stephen Brodie, prosecutors now believe was wrongly convicted for the 1990 sexual assault of a child.
In 1993, Stephen Brodie pleaded guilty to the crime in exchange for a five year sentence for abducting a 5 year old girl from her Richardson home and forcing her to perform a sex act. But, after Brodie’s plea, his attorneys learned that a fingerprint found on a window matched a suspected serial rapist who was convicted of a similar crime. Also, there was a hair found on the girl’s blanket that did not match Brodie or anyone in the girl’s family.
Currently, it is unclear if the prosecutors knew about the print match and hair and did not tell Brodie’s attorney, or whether police failed to turn over the information to the district attorney’s office. Information that could benefit a defendant is legally required to be handed over following a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Brady vs. Maryland.
If Brodie will be cleared, he would be the second exoneration in Richardson, and the second in Dallas County case where a defendant was exonerated after falsely confessing to a crime. The Dallas county also has 20 DNA exonerations, which is more than any other county in the nation since 2001 when Texas began allowing post-conviction genetic testing.
Brodie’s attorney, Dallas County public defender Michelle Moore, said that Richardson Police interrogated Brodie for 18 hours over eight days, and only half of the time was there a sign language interpreter present. He also said that Bradie also confessed to a crime that Dallas police made up while questioning him. This raises the doubts about whether Bradie’s confession to an actual crime was legitimate.
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