Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Clyde Charles

First NameClyde
Last NameCharles
Year of Conviction1982
Year of Exoneration1999
Testing inculpated culpritNon-Cold Hit
State of ConvictionLouisiana
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● A series of alibi witness testified, in addition to the defendant. A neighbor said that on the day of the crime early in the morning, defendant came to her house to ask for a ride. His brother said he was drinking with him until closing time. A friend from work described how the defendant came to ask for a ride around 2am and stayed for 3 hours.

Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Quotes from Exoneree Testimony

“Q: Clyde Charles, did you rape [the victim]? A: No, sir, I did not.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Hair
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Vague
  • Valid
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The analyst found hairs “similar,” explaining “If the two do match, then the probabilities are that the hair could have come or did come from the same individual, however, it is not an absolute science, since you can find people whose hair is the same.”

Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Lineup Procedures
  • Showup
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Show-up conducted shortly after incident ● But – prior to show-up described how suspect was wearing clothes just as the victim described

Quotes from testimony #1

We went into the room and asked her if she could identify or make a positive ID in the suspect that we had, and she was, ….she was brought up there in a wheelchair to the emergency room door exit and she identified the subject right there

Unreliable Identification?

No ● Discrepancy in description – facial hair (Charles had facial hair)

Quotes from testimony #2

Q: What about facial hair? A: No facial hair. Q: Do you remember that or are you just guessing about that? A: He had no facial hair. Q: At all? A: That’s right.

Highest level reachedFederalHabeas
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Coerced Confession
  • Fourth Amendment
  • Jury Selection
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct
  • State Law Evidence Claim
  • Suggestive Eyewitness Identification
  • Wade Counsel at Lineup Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • HE
Citations to judicial opinions

State v. Charles, 511 So.2d 1164 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1987)
State v. Charles, 515 So.2d 1107 (La. 1987)
Charles v. Butler, 498 U.S. 957 (1990)

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