Lufkin man lobbying for pair of bills for wrongfully convicted

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Jeff Awtrey - email

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - A Lufkin man who spent 10 years in prison for a crime he did not commit is lobbying for more legislation in Austin to benefit those who were wrongfully convicted.

James Giles Sr., who owns a bail bond company in Lufkin, has become an advocate for exonerees and spends time in Austin and Washington lobbying for various legislative bills.

In Austin this year, Giles has lobbied for health insurance from the county in which an exoneree is wrongfully convicted. He is also lobbying for House Bill 215, which would force law enforcement agencies to adopt a model policy when administrating lineup procedures.

Those are just two pieces of many legislative bills in which Giles has lobbied. He credited lawmakers for their cooperation in protecting the rights of exonerees.

"Really, I have never been down on the justice system," Giles said. "We've amended it when we need to. It's like traveling down a road. You never know what's going on until we go down that road. People may get in accidents on that road, so you have to add stop signs or yield signs or crosswalks to fix it."

Giles was convicted in 1982 of a Dallas County gang rape when authorities arrested the wrong man with the same name. He was paroled ten years later, and had to register as a sex offender until he was pardoned in 2007.

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