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I commend The Victoria Advocate, Leslie Wilbur and everyone else who had a role in exposing this injustice. The victims of this junk science deserve to be fairly compensated. Without robust scrutiny and public accountability, many more innocent people will be in jail. The Innoncence Project of Texas has been instrumental in the release of many people wrongfully convicted of serious crimes in our state. It's a fact, innocent people are convicted of serious crimes, and it's happens far more often than we want to admit.
Victoria Police Department and the City of Victoria settled an out of court wrongful incarcerration lawsuit last year. Were the details of that case ever revealed?
ChrisHello. I’m the scoundrel who wrote “Weird Science” for Texas Monthly. Leslie Wilber did some amazing reporting on the Keith Pikett story; I was particularly envious that she got to actually witness one of the deputy’s lineups. Of course I also had many other sources for the Texas Monthly story, from stories that came before the Advocate’s (including one in USA Today) to the hundreds of pages of court documents I read and the many interviews I did. But I apologize for not giving Wilber and the Advocate a courtesy nod—at one point I wrote just such a nod, giving Wilber credit for intelligently speculating about how Pikett kept picking out the suspect’s scent in the lineup she witnessed (in her story, she wrote: “But there seemed to be some clues - intentional or not - that pointed to the location of the suspect's scent. In the first lineup of the day, the bags in cans 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 were rumpled. A crisp sample in a sharp-cornered bag sat in can 4. The dogs picked can 4.”) But that scene got cut and I didn’t get around to giving her and the Advocate a plug. Most small-city papers don’t have the manpower or the enthusiasm to do stories like this, and you did, and yes, I should have at least given you and her a mention.