Josiah Sutton

Truer Crime
Truer Crime
Josiah Sutton

At just 16 years old, Josiah Sutton is accused and convicted of a heinous crime he swears he didn’t commit. Only problem? Investigators have DNA evidence which links him directly to the crime. Today’s episode explores forensic science, the effects of imprisonment, and the bond between a mother and her son.

Today’s story contains references to sexual assault, incarceration, and very briefly, suicidal ideation. Please take care while listening.

A full transcript of this episode is available here.

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Action Item Related to Today’s Episode:

A huge thank you to Carol Batie who agreed to share her experiences on this episode. As always we want to encourage you to support those most directly impacted by these stories, so I wanted to share with you a little about what she’s working on and how you can support.

Carol is in the process of writing a book. The book will go beyond the story you heard today about Josiah, and expand to stories throughout her whole life. She described the book as being about “the struggle of not giving up” and having “the faith in believing whatever your thoughts and feelings are.” Carol also shared with me that she’s long wanted to start an organization called “Mothers Against Injustice” and hopes to soon take steps towards making this dream a reality. Her hope is the organization can support mothers with experiences like hers, and can serve as a place for them to come together and take action against injustice.

Funding is one of the biggest challenges in her being able to start the organization, and she asked us for direct financial support to help her in this process. You can send direct financial contributions to Carol via Cash App $CarolCoxMom4040.

If you want to hear the extended Interview with Carol Batie, join us on Patreon! The amazing thing about Patreon is that a small contribution makes a world of difference in the sustainability of creating a podcast like this one. For $5 / month you would be directly helping us keep this show going. AND as a patron means you’ll get access to exclusive behind the scenes content!

Key Research Mentioned:

Houston Chronicle: Josiah Sutton: One Year Later, by Mary Ann Fergus

Houston Chronicle: Joyous Sutton tastes freedom, by Roma Khanna, Alan Benrstein*

Houston Chronicle: Crime lab scandal leaves prosecutor feeling betrayed Owmby says Sutton case tests faith in justice system, by Alan Bernstein*

Houston Chronicle: Taking Back the Life He Lost, by Roma Khanna* 

Houston Chronicle: Why not pay our debt to Josiah?, by Rick Casey*

Houston Chronicle: Rape conviction on faulty DNA should be thrown out, judge says But charges against prosecutor rejected, by Andrew Tilghman, Roma Khanna*

Houston Chronicle: Perry signs pardon for Sutton Man convicted on faulty DNA may be entitled to $100,000, by Roma Khanna*

Houston Chronicle: Experts review case of convicted rapist Scientists say DNA work by HPD lab shoddy, by Roma Khanna, Peggy O’Hare*

Houston Chronicle: Grand jury probe right for lab mess, by Thom Marshall.*

Houston Chronicle: DA rejects judges’ request for recusal from lab probe, by Roma Khanna, Steve McVicker, James Kimberly, Kristen Mack*

Houston Chronicle: DNA lab analysts unqualified Review finds education, training lacking, by Lise Olsen, Roma Khanna*

Houston Chronicle: DNA evidence destroyed; pardons called possible, by Roma Khanna*

Houston Chronicle: Ruling reinstates fired DNA analyst to crime lab job, by Roma Khanna, Steve McVicker*

Houston Chronicle: Josiah Sutton

Houston Chronicle: Outrageous: Still no one held accountable for crime lab scandal, by Staff
*Indicates a source we cannot hyperlink because it was retrieved through the Houston Chronicle archives which is only accessible through a subscription. You can subscribe to the archives and gain access to these and other articles on the Houston Chronicle website.

Sources Used:

Houston Police Department Laboratory Division: Original Information Report Non-Public, completed by Officer Kim in the HPD Crime Lab

Fourteenth Court of Appeals: Josiah Sutton, Appellant V. The State of Texas, Appellee

Department of Criminology, Law and Society University of California, Irvine: Review of DNA Evidence in State of Texas v. Josiah Sutton, by William C Thompson J.D, Ph.D

National Human Genome Research Institute: Genetics vs. Genomics Fact Sheet

Trial Transcript of Christy Kim Testimony

Journal of Traumatic Stress: The impact of criminal justice involvement on victims’ mental health, by Jim Parsons, Tiffany Bergin

Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review: The Trauma of the Incarceration Experience, by Mika’il DeVeaux

The Atlantic: The False Promise of DNA Testing, by Matthew Shaer

Prison Legal News: Wrongfully Convicted Texas Prisoner Finally Receives $118,000 in Compensation, by Matthew T. Clarke

Forensic Science” Science Goes Wrong: Twelve Tales from the Dark Side of Discovery, by Simon LeVay

The National Registry of Exonerations: Josiah Sutton

CBS News 60 Minutes: DNA Testing: Foolproof?, by Rebecca Leung

Texas Monthly: Proof Negative, by John Ratliff

The New York TImes: The Nation; You Think DNA Evidence is Foolproof? Try Again, by Adam Liptak

Frontline: The Surprisingly Imperfect Sceince of DNA Testing, by Katie Worth

Gallup: Crime

Vox: Why the sex offender registry isn’t the right way to punish rapists, by Dara Lind

Innocence Project: How Eyewitness Misidentification Can Send Innocent People to Prison, by Innocence Staff

National Registry of Exonerations: Race and Wrongful Convictions in the United States, by Samuel R. Gross, Maurice Possley, and Klara Stephens

HPD Crime Lab Independent Investigation: Final Report of the Independent Investigator for the Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory and Property Room, by Michael R. Bromwich

The Black Scholar: Rape, Racism and the Capitalist Setting, by Angela Y. Davis

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