Using recantations in the context of an actual innocence claim can be very helpful for your fight for freedom, so today I decided to write about the different aspects of recantations and how you can use them to the best advantage in your case.
Recantations, with a few exceptions, are going to apply when there is a victim of an alleged victim who has accused you or your loved one of a crime, usually something like sexual assault of a child, regular sexual assault of an adult, or indecency with a child.
They tend to come out of a situation where some adult has pressured a child to lie about another adult for some vindictiveness or custody reasons.
Suppose some time has gone by while you’ve been incarcerated and you find out later that this victim (who was a child) was five to ten years old at the time of the incident, and that this child has recanted to a relative or someone else.
You can present that evidence in an actual innocence claim.
However, the thing to remember in an actual innocence claim on a recantation is it’s not simply enough to get your recanting victim to come in, sign an affidavit, file your application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, and then go have a hearing.
You’ve got to do a lot of leg work to support that. There has to be corroborating evidence to show that the recantation is authentic because the trial courts and the court of criminal appeals are wary about false recantations. Somebody has just changed their mind about whether somebody should be in prison over the issue or not. In this context, you need to build a case that supports the allegation being false due to whatever that thing led them to make the false allegation was. Also, the use of experts, child psychologists, or social workers that may be able to perform an analysis on the now-grown child to determine whether or not this child suffered from any sort of lingering effects of sexual assault can be helpful to you.
These things are the kinds of things that you need to present because even if you present an affidavit, go have a live hearing in front of the trial court judge and the trial court judge finds in your favor, the Court of Criminal Appeals is very wary to grant these unless you have that kind of corroborating evidence to show that this is not just a false recantation.
That’s very important when you’re thinking about recantations in your particular case because recantations are very powerful and can be the thing that sets you free.
I’m not saying recantations are not good.
It’s a great thing to have, but you just have to make sure that you use a piece of evidence in the right way to make sure that you are able to achieve freedom with it, rather than just throwing it out there to the court and hoping that they grant you relief based upon the recantation.
About The Attorney
Jacob Blizzard is board certified in both criminal law and criminal appellate law.
He regularly practices in the areas of state and federal criminal defense, criminal appeals, post conviction writs of habeas corpus.
In Texas, there are more than 100,000 attorneys licensed to practice, but only 7,450 are board certified.
In the entire State of Texas, as of the 2019 certification year, there were only 87 attorneys board certified in both criminal law and criminal appellate law, making Mr. Blizzard one of 0.087% of attorneys in Texas to hold both of those certifications.