Innocence Commission Exonerates Greg Taylor After Serving 16 Years of Life Sentenceby Stephen Littau
North Carolina has at least one criminal justice reform that all states ought to adopt: an innocence commission (particularly for states which currently have a death penalty). So far, North Carolina is the only state which has such a commission.
Greg Taylor, convicted of 1st degree murder of prostitute Jacquetta Thomas in 1993, was the first to be exonerated by the commission after serving 16 years of a life sentence. One who isn’t familiar with the details of the case may assume that Taylor’s conviction was an honest mistake since DNA testing was in it’s infancy in 1993. According to this Associated Press article, however; the commission found a very disturbing omission by the prosecution which could have cast reasonable doubt (if not excluded altogether) on Taylor’s guilt.
Defense attorneys worked to cast doubt about the initial case built against Taylor, and a State Bureau of Investigation agent testified that complete blood test results were excluded from lab reports presented at trial.
The agent’s notes indicated that samples from Taylor’s SUV tested positive for blood in preliminary tests but were negative in follow-up testing, which wasn’t disclosed during the prosecution.
But rather than drop the charges against Taylor, prosecutors went forward with the case anyway and successfully convicted him. The jury was denied access to this critical evidence and Taylor’s liberties were taken from him as a result.
Hopefully, those who failed to disclose the results of the blood test will pay some sort of price but I have serious doubts. Until Taylor is compensated one way or another, this injustice is far from being set right.