Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Calvin Washington

First NameCalvin
Last NameWashington
Year of Conviction1987
Year of Exoneration2001
Testing inculpated culpritCold Hit
State of ConvictionTexas
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape and Murder
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defendant’s lawyer argued that there was not sufficient evidence of guilt.

Did the defendant testify at trial?No
Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
  • Informant
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Shoe print
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Vague
  • Valid (Excluded)
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The marks compared were found consistent, not with Calvin Washington, but with co-defendant Joe Sidney Williams. The odontologist testified that the marks were not from Calvin Washington. Indeed, Washington was missing most of his teeth, so the odontologist did not and could not plausibly have connected Washington with the case. Instead, Joe Sidney Williams charged with acting along with Washington was said to have teeth “consistent” with the marks, though the odontologist could not say with a “reasonable degree of dental certainty” that it was Williams’ bite mark.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Non-victim
Unreliable Identification?


Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized WitnessIW, J
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies● Non-public details in statements by two jailhouse informants and cooperating witnesses. ● Prosecutor argued that the informant testimony was “consistent with the fact that she was raped both vaginally and anally.” The prosecutor added that as to another informant’s testimony, "How do we corroborate that? What is the corroboration of that? Let me ask you this. If you had heard that a woman had been burglarized, raped and murdered in her house late at night, where would you expect for that assault to have taken place? At night a person is going to be in their back bedroom normally under normal circumstances. What did Calvin Washington tell [the informant]? He said she came out of the back room with something in her hand, and I just reacted and started hitting her right there in the front room. There is your corroboration. How is he going to know that if he wasn't there, that the attack began in the front room. The front living room, that's where the attack began.”
Quotes from testimony #3

Informants described defendant talking about “biting that woman” corroborating the forensic bite mark analysis implicating codefendant. Another informant described items stolen from victim’s home, including the victim’s car, a T.V., VCR, Microwave, small box of silverware, clothes, and two small lamps. Jailhouse informant explained that “when a man commits a murder or like that, and as one of them was bragging about it, it just didn’t sit right with me.” He said “either when he left out the room, the woman was still alive,” and that he did it with “His fall partner.” And “he said he did have sex with the woman.” And “He said that the State has some teeth marks that were claiming to be his that were found on the lady’s body. And he said at that time that they wasn’t his.” Another informant, not in jail, said he saw the defendant with the victim’s car, and “He said that he had jumped on her, thought he had killed her. And I asked him – – I thought he was just jiving, you know. And he said, no, you’ll hear about it, you know.” This informant had charges pending for delivery, possession of cocaine.

Quotes regarding any deal or leniency with informant, or prior use of informant

Prosecutor testified denying that any promises were made to any of the jailhouse informants, Wilkerson – denied any promises or deals – TT 738 – but one charge “retired” pending a lab report. Jaihouse informant claimed no leniency, stating that officer “told me he would get back with me, and he never did get back with me,” adding, “Hasn’t nobody made me no offers.” Q. Ever? A. Ever. Q. Not one time? A. Not one time.” .However, his theft case was “Dropped it down to a misdemeanor,” as was a burglary charge, and as a habitual offender, he could have received life in prison, but instead got “Nothing” and served only four months – why? – he claimed “I got nothing because they had no evidence.” Dotson – later statement to PI – they subjected him to pressure “you know they kept pressuring me” and “Saying that I might be charged with Capital Murder I don’t need no capital murder charge — I don’t even know when she died or whatever.”

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Brady
  • Fourth Amendment
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
  • HE
  • NP
Citations to judicial opinions

Washington v. State, 822 S.W.2d 110 (Tex. App.‐Waco,1991.)
Washington v. State, 856 S.W.2d 184 (Tex. Crim.App.,1993.)

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