Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

James Waller

First NameJames
Last NameWaller
Year of Conviction1983
Year of Exoneration2007
State of ConvictionTexas
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
  • Third Party Guilt
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defendant’s girlfriend testified that defendant was sleeping in bed with her the entire night that the crime occurred. This testimony was corroborated by defendant’s two cousins who were living with defendant and his girlfriend.

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

[Victim described attacker wearing a cowboy hat and bandana] “Q: James, do you own a brown or tan cowboy hat? A: I have never owned a cowboy hat. I don’t even wear cowboy hats. Q: How about a red bandana? A: I never owned a red bandana. . . . “Q: James, you didn’t break in on the house there on Bryan, the apartment over there and sexually abuse [the victim]; did you? A: No, I didn’t.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Hair
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(2) Testimony ruled out possibility of exclusion
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

While agreeing that the hair did not match, refused to exclude him, explaining that “if you wanted to say that this hair did not come from this individual, you would have to check it against every hair to be positive that it did not come from that individual” and agreeing that one would “practically have to denude a person to make a proper comparison.” See Part II.B.2 describing this case.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Multiple eyewitnesses2
Lineup Procedures
  • Showup
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Show-up

Quotes from testimony #1

Victim and eyewitness were brought to defendant’s apartment to see him questioned by police, where they identified him, the day after the incident. “A. The manager told them that they had a report on the black guy that molested me and so they went down there and checked it out. Q. Okay. Did you – – did you later go over there and see them talking to the man? A. Yes. Q. And did you tell the police officers that was the man? A. Yes.”

Unreliable Identification?

No ● Discrepancies in description – height, hair style

Quotes from testimony #2

Defendant was six four – eyewitness described seeing a person who was about 5’5.” Variously described attacker as wearing hair in an afro or a “corn curl row.” “What part of his face could you see? A: The upper part. Q: Okay. Everything above the bandana? A: Uh-huh

Highest level reachedNR

Read more about this exoneration

Previous post
←  Keith Turner