Lydell Grant Exonerated More Than a Year after Being Freed

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that our client Lydell Grant is innocent.
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Photo: Texas Innocence Project

On Wednesday morning, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that our client Lydell Grant is innocent.

"This decision has been a long time coming. We are happy that Lydell and his family finally have the justice they deserve. I am incredibly proud of our legal team for their hard work and perseverance," said Mike Ware, Executive Director of IPTX.

Lydell was wrongfully convicted of the 2010 murder of a young man in Houston and spent nine years in prison before he was released after IPTX got the DNA evidence in his case re-analyzed. Despite the DNA identifying another suspect, who was located by Houston police and confessed to the crime, it has taken another 15 months to clear Lydell's name.

This decision is the culmination of years of work by Lydell, his family and the IPTX team.

Unreliable Eyewitness Testimony Led to Wrongful Conviction

Lydell was convicted largely based on faulty eyewitness testimony. Social scientists have demonstrated for decades that accuracy of eyewitness identification in questionable. Although witnesses can be very confident that their memory is accurate when identifying a suspect, the malleable nature of memory makes eyewitness testimony one of the most unreliable forms of evidence.

Despite the research, surveys show that most jurors place heavy weight on eyewitness testimony when deciding whether a suspect is guilty.

In Lydell’s case, a detective working on the case administered the photo lineup. In 2011, a year after Lydell's case was investigated, but before his trial, the law was changed in Texas to encourage double blind photo and in-person lineups where the administrator of the lineup does not know who the suspect is. That way the law enforcement officials working on the case cannot intentionally or unintentionally influence witnesses on who to pick.

IPTX was instrumental in passing the legislation that encourages double blind lineups and we continue to work on critical criminal justice reforms. Stay tuned in the coming weeks to find out how you can help this legislative session to prevent wrongful convictions.

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