Professor John D.
3 March 2013
Since the late 1980s, DNA testing has exonerated more than 250 wrongly convicted people, who spent an average of 13 years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit (Rosen). But for one Texas Tech University student, this came 23 years too late. Timonthy Cole was a student at TTU who, in 1985, was falsely convicted of a rape crime. At the time, several attacks were being reported near the Lubbock Texas Tech campus, including the one of TTU’s sophomore students Michele Mallin, so the local police department stationed an undercover female officer at the campus area. Cole started a conversation with the officer and ended up getting his picture taken by the department. It was showed to Mallin, alongside five different mug shots, and she picked him out as her rapist (Williams). Not only was Tim Cole prosecuted of a crime he did not commit, the accusation had many flaws. There were fingerprints in the victim’s car that did not match Cole’s, he also had solid alibis: his brother was having a card party in the living room of their apartment while Cole was studying in his room, and Mallin had identified the offender as a chain smoker, but the accused was the asthmatic, nonsmoking Cole. Despite his many witnesses, the jury believed Mallin, and Cole was sentenced for 25 years in prison. The real rapist, Jerry Johnson, Cole’s cellmate, whose name was brought up repeatedly during the trial, but had no effect on the jury, wrote a letter to Cole’s mother in 2007 confessing his crime (Goodwyn). This type of wrongly led trial is the result of a series of flawed practices that the courts rely on every day. By relying too much on decisions made early in the investigative process, we place the innocent at an unnecessarily high risk of being convicted of crimes they didn’t commit (Rosen). A wrongly conducted accusation of a rape crime can lead to the anguish of innocents, and also increase the chances that the real criminal is...