Old Science Sent Him to Prison But DNA Cleared Robert Duboise
Robert DuBoise is a free man after spending 37 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.
Arrested in 1983, DuBoise was accused of raping 19-year-old, Barbara Grams, who was supposedly murdered by two other men. DuBoise was innocent and acted like it. He twice willingly submitted to a dental examination because of a bite mark the prosecution believed was on the victim’s cheek, reports the Washington Post. But it was not until recently that DNA cleared his name.
The Florida criminal justice system is as flawed as the people who work in it, so don’t just assume, like DuBoise, that innocent people aren’t convicted. If you find yourself accused of a crime, take it seriously from day one and work with an experienced defense lawyer, committed to your case.
Faulty Scientific Evidence and Perjury Result in Conviction
Grams was attacked in August 1983 as she walked home from work in Tampa. DuBoise’s conviction was based on two things
- Bite-mark evidence, which is now widely discredited as a way to identify someone
- Testimony by a fellow inmate, a flawed practice that can reward lying by another inmate
Problems with Bite Mark Evidence
Dentist Richard R. Souviron testified about bite marks at DuBoise’s trial. He stated that marks on the victim’s cheek matched DuBoise’s bite. However, another expert who reviewed the evidence the mark in question wasn’t a bite mark.
Souviron later admitted that he overstated the certainty of the match. It’s also been determined over the years that many people have similar bite patterns, and that bites in the skin may not be good evidence. Souviron still works as a dentist, but now states dentists can’t definitively match teeth patterns with bite marks in most cases.
Jail House Informant Testimony
DuBoise spent time in the Hillsborough County Jail after his arrest with Claude Butler, who testified that DuBoise confided in him that him two other men killed Grams while DuBoise raped her. DuBoise denied saying that to Butler.
After Butler cooperated, he received a five-year sentence for multiple serious charges, and freed after only 16 months in prison. The men Butler claimed DuBoise had named as the killers were never prosecuted. DuBoise, however, was convicted and sentenced to death, and later reduced to life in prison.
A Lifetime Spent Trying to be Free
During those 37 years, DuBoise never stopped trying to prove his innocence. Eventually, the Innocence Project took up his case., Ultimately, the rape kit from the attack was finally found, and DNA was extracted. The test results definitively eliminated DuBoise as an attacker, and identified to a new “person of interest.”
Six days after getting the DNA test results, Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren filed a motion to reduce DuBoise’s sentence to “time served,” which ensured his immediate release . Another motion will be filed to officially exonerate DuBose.
You Can be Falsely Convicted Too
If you are charged with a violent crime, you need to protect yourself. As you can see from the DuBoise case, even innocent defendants can suffer because of flawed science and the word of someone with their own agenda.
If you or a loved one are ever accused of a crime, don’t discuss the case or situation with those around you, make a statement or accept a plea without consulting a lawyer.
Call Hillsborough Defense at (813) 258-4800 24/7.