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The Criminal Injustice System


This story isn’t something to celebrate. It’s a crime that led to a man’s life effectively being taken away from him.

Robert DuBoise, 55, has spent two-thirds of his life behind bars for the 1983 rape and killing of a woman in Tampa, Fla. He has always maintained his innocence, but any hope of reversing his conviction seemed to evaporate in 1990 when the evidence from his trial was destroyed as part of a routine procedure.

Earlier this month, however, a prosecutor in Hillsborough County, Fla., made a startling discovery: The county medical examiner’s office had preserved rape kit samples in the case that were not used in Mr. DuBoise’s trial.

DNA testing of the samples confirmed what Mr. DuBoise had long said: that he was not responsible for the rape and murder of the woman, Barbara Grams, 19, prosecutors said.

On Wednesday, prosecutors said they had moved to free Mr. DuBoise by filing a joint motion with his lawyer to reduce his life sentence to time served. If a judge approves the motion on Thursday, Mr. DuBoise could walk out of Hardee Correctional Institution in Bowling Green, Fla., on Thursday afternoon, after 37 years behind bars.

We should probably assume that most people in prison are innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted.

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