Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

James Dean

First NameJames
Last NameDean
Year of Conviction1989
Year of Exoneration2009
Testing inculpated culpritNon-Cold Hit
State of ConvictionNebraska
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaGuilty Plea
Type of CrimeMurder
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Types of evidence at trial
  • Confession
  • Forensic Evidence
  • Informant
Were non-public facts alleged?Yes
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(1) Masking
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

Fingerprint and hair comparison excluded defendant. Analyst testified in Joseph White’s trial that serology was consistent with two co-defendants, without providing any statistics or explaining that those findings were also entirely consistent with the victim and none could be excluded.

Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies

● Described layout of victim’s apartment ● Described rape and strangulation of victim ● Described hearing a sound like a bone breaking, and autopsy concluded that the victim’s left arm was broken BUT Inconsistent descriptions of Joseph White and described memory problems and inability to recall details before speaking to law enforcement No records of mental evaluation at time of interrogations or trial obtained, but at trial described difficulty distinguishing between dreams and reality.

Quotes from law enforcement testimony

Guilty Plea – No trial. But testified in Joseph White trial

Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized WitnessCD
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies● Non-public facts described in false confession Appendix concerning other “Beatrice Six” defendants Shelden, Taylor and Winslow
Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Guilty Plea
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
  • Jury Instructions
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
Citations to judicial opinions

State v. Dean, 464 N.W.2d 782 (Neb. 1991)

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