Wrongfully convicted Lufkin man speaks on Texas exoneration review bill

Wrongfully convicted Lufkin man speaks on Texas exoneration review bill
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE)

The state of Texas has more exonerations than any other state in the country. The 84th Texas Legislature recently passed a bill named after Timothy Cole, a Texan who spent 14 years in prison for a rape he never committed.

"Once they see these stories that come out, it will help them keep their faith and their hope that they will get themselves out," said James Giles, a Lufkin man who was wrongfully convicted.

Giles was accused of of a gang rape in 1982 he never committed and has since been exonerated. He spent 10 years in a Texas prison.

"Totally misidentification," is what Giles said went wrong with his case.

Giles happened to have a name similar to that of the perpetrator. His days behind bars are behind him but he said, "If you've been incarcerated, you still deal with it."

Timothy Cole was another man who endured the same tragedy. The then-Texas Tech student died in prison, but today Texas law makers want to lessen the number of people wrongfully convicted.

"We have laws on books now. Identification is not just where you go and say someone did it," Giles said.

Texas House Bill 48, or the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review, will create a commission to review convictions after exoneration and prevent wrongful convictions in the future.

"You can never get the time back, and not enough money will pay you back," Giles said.

Giles awaited his day and said he hasn't lost faith in the judicial system.

"You can't be angry when in a situation because you will never get yourself out of it," Giles said.

He's become an advocate for those guilty until proven innocent, and today, he continues with this attitude.

"Forgive and forget and keep trying to live," Giles said.

Exonerations that will be reviewed will be from January 1st, 2010 and onward.

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