Johnny Pinchback freed after 27 years.
Subject: Rape (Cases)
Wrongful convictions (Law) (Cases)
Pub Date: 12/22/2011
Publication: Name: The Forensic Examiner Publisher: American College of Forensic Examiners Audience: Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Law; Science and technology Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 American College of Forensic Examiners ISSN: 1084-5569
Issue: Date: Winter, 2011 Source Volume: 20 Source Issue: 3
Topic: Event Code: 980 Legal issues & crime Advertising Code: 94 Legal/Government Regulation Computer Subject: Company legal issue
Product: Product Code: 9101312 Rape NAICS Code: 92212 Police Protection
Persons: Named Person: Pinchback, Johnny
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Texas Geographic Code: 1U7TX Texas
Accession Number: 275636309

On May 12, 2011, Dallas County cleared its 22nd wrongfully accused inmate due to DNA evidence. Johnny Pinchback, who had been sentenced to 99 years in prison 27 years ago, had been accused of abducting and raping two young women. Pinchback was charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault (Innocence Project 2011).

Pinchback was arrested on October 5, 1984, several months after two young teenage girls, one 14 and one 15, were abducted, tied up, and raped while held at gunpoint (Williams 2011). Shortly after the crime was committed, the girls saw Pinchback driving by, believed him to be their attacker, and gave his license plate number to the police. Natalie Roetzel, one of Pinchback's most recent attorneys, stated that Pinchback was arrested and there were no other suspects (Emily 2011).

Right after their attack, the girls went to a nearby hospital where they were given rape examinations. DNA testing was not used in law enforcement at the time, but some pubic hair was collected as evidence from one of the girls and properly preserved. In 2001, Dallas County passed a law allowing inmates to request DNA testing. It took 10 more years, but a DNA test was finally done, which proved that Johnny Pinchback was indeed innocent.

Sadly, Pinchback might still be in jail if it not for the Innocence Project of Texas, who had received a letter from Pinchback back in 2007 declaring his innocence. It took the project two years to get to his case, as there were over 1,000 inmates in line ahead of him (Noel 2007). As a result of the DNA testing law passing in 2001, Dallas County has freed more wrongfully accused prisoners than any other county (Emily 2011). Dallas County also has the advantage of better preserving DNA-based evidence than many other counties, which has allowed them to free multiple innocent people. Charles Chatman, another wrongfully accused man released from the same prison as Pinchback's in 2008, called Pinchback's attorneys every week to check the progress on Pinchback's case. Johnny Pinchback refers to his Innocence Project of Texas lawyers, Roetzel, Jason Partney, and Gary Udashen, as angels (Emily 2011).

During the 27 years, Johnny Pinchback never lost Faith. Pinchback said, "It was pretty hard. But I trusted in God ..." (Emily 2011). His friends and family also believed in his innocence. Sandra Pinchback, now his wife, met Pinchback the same year he went to prison. Pinchback was her father's neighbor, and Sandra worked with Pinchback's sister. They became friends, and she stuck by him after his arrest, believing his innocence. Over time their friendship blossomed into something more. They married in 1993 (Emily 2011).

Pinchback was officially exonerated on June 8, 2011, when he was granted the Great Writ, also known as the writ of habeas corpus, by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (Innocence Project 2011).


Emily, J. (2011, May 12). Dallas man freed after 27 years behind bars for rapes he did not commit. Dallas News. Retrieved September 13, 2011, from http:// -years-behind-bars-for-rapes-he-did-not-commit.ece

Innocence Project Johnny Pmchback (2011). In The Innocence Project. Retrieved September 13, 2011, from Pinchback.php

Noel, T. (2011, May 12). DNA Evidence Clears Dallas Man After 27 Years. In The 33 News. Retrieved September 13, 2011, from http://www.the33tv. com/about/station/newsteam/kdaf-dna-evidence-clears-dallas-man-after-27 -years-20110512,0,361366.story

Williams, S. P. (2011, May 11). DNA Evidence Clears Johnny Pinchback of 1984 Aggravated Rape. Dallas South News. Retrieved September 13, 2011, from dna-evidence-clears-johnny-pinchback-of-1984-aggravated-rape/


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