Should my friend acknowledge a crime that he has maintained innocence about in order to get parole?

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Should my friend acknowledge a crime that he has maintained innocence about in order to get parole?

My friend was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and given 50 years TDCJ. He is coming up for parole and wants to know if he should acknowledge the crime in his letter to the parole board, even though he did not do it? The Innocence Project of TX is looking into his case as they have sent him some questionnaires and such, as well as the TX Innocence Network. I know he wants to be home, but I was wondering if it would be better to let the Innocence Project work before he does that?

Asked on April 12, 2011 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

robert lee

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The question that you are asking is a sticky one that hinges on several different situations. However, I will address this question the best that I can. I will first address the issue of your friends case being reviewed by the Innocence Project.

In light of the fact that you have stated that the Innocence Project is reviewing your friends case, I am assuming that he is maintaining his innocence as it applies to the conviction that he is presently serving a sentence under.   The problem with this is that with any project of this type, there is normally a very long waiting list and it sometimes takes years for them to review your case, even after they have sent the questionnaire.  Also, very seldom do they handle cases that do not have significant evidence of innocence, such as biological evidence, video/audio or any type of evidence that can be tested or physically examined.  If the conviction took place based primarily on circumstantial evidence and/or witness/victim testimony then the project will be very reluctant to spend the resources to represent your friend.

With that said, if your friend thinks that he has a chance for the project to review his case and represent him in the matter, then it would be prudent of him to not infer or otherwise sugggest that he is guilty of the crime in a letter to the board.  However, he also runs the risk of the Board assuming that he is not taking responsibility for his actions and thus being an indication that he has not been "rehabilitated" and needs to serve more time.  Then, there is always the avenue where your friend states his innocence in his letter to the board due to the fact that nowdays it is not uncommon for people to be telling the truth in matters like these.  

So, in light of the overall situation, it would probably be better for your friend to state his innocence in his letter to the parole board as long he is truly innocent


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