Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Charles Dabbs

First NameCharles
Last NameDabbs
Year of Conviction1984
Year of Exoneration1991
State of ConvictionNew York
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Missing transcript of defense case

Did the defendant testify at trial?No
Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(1), (2) Failure to exclude; Masking; no elimination testing
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The victim was an AB non-secretor and Dabbs an O secretor. No blood type was detected on vaginal slides, but this was entirely consistent with the victim as a non-secretor or with degradation. There was no testimony, however, that this could be due to masking. See Part II.A.1 for a description of the problem of masking and non-quantification and discussion of similar cases. The B substances on pants belonging to sister of victim excluded Dabbs and were foreign to the victim. Yet the analyst testified that he drew no conclusion from that finding where Dabbs could have been a contributor to the stain. This exclusion was explained by the State with testimony that the sister had a boyfriend; however, no elimination testing was done on the sister or boyfriend to test that theory.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Victim
Suggestive Procedures

No – but Acquaintance

Unreliable Identification?

No ● Discrepancies in description – hair in cornrows, had no missing teeth

Quotes from testimony #2

“What is it about the smile that you recall? A. He has some teeth missing.”

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
  • HE
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. Dabbs, 141 A.D.2d 664 (N.Y. App. Div. 2 Dept. 1988)
People v. Dabbs, 543 N.Y.S.2d 405 (N.Y. 1989) (Table)

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