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Stephen Brodie

Other CIU Exonerations in Child Sex Abuse Cases
https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/PublishingImages/Stephen_Brodie.jpg
In September 1990, a 5-year-old girl was abducted from her Richardson, Texas home and molested. The girl told police her attacker was a fat white man. 
 
Police recovered a hair from the blanket the girl had with her and a fingerprint from the screen of the window through which the perpetrator entered the house. The abduction was one of a string of abductions and assaults in the area. 
 
In August 1991, Stephen Brodie, who was skinny, was arrested for burglary for breaking into a coin-operated soda machine at a swimming pool in Richardson near where the girl was abducted. The police questioned him about the September 1990 assault, interrogating him for 18 hours over the course of eight days. For part of that time, Brodie, who is deaf, was interrogated without a sign language interpreter. 
 
Ultimately, police said Brodie confessed to the attack, but got many of the details wrong. In fact, of 46 details, 44 of them were either wrong or not mentioned in the confession. He was later turned over to Dallas Police for questioning about other unsolved similar crimes. But when police began to doubt his confessions, they made up crimes and he confessed to them as well. So he ws returned to Richardson and not charged with any other crimes. Faced with a possible 99-year sentence, Brodie pled guilty to rape in the Richardson case and received a five-year sentence.
 
Brodie subsequently filed a state law petition for a writ of haberas corpus. At that time, the prosecution claimed that the girl said her attacker had a voice like that of a clown that came to home birthday parties. The prosecution claimed that pointed to Brodie, who, because of his deafness, had unusual speech patterns. However, the defense discovered the girl actually said her attacker had a "low" voice--which Brodie did not have. Nonetheless, the petition was denied.
 
Brodie served his five-year term and was released in 1998. However, he was subsequently convicted three times for failure to register as a sex offender. He was sentenced to five years in prison for two of the cases and two years in prison for the thrd. 
 
It was later discovered that police failed to tell Brodie’s attorney that Brodie, the victim and the victim's family were excluded as the source of the hair found on the victim’s blanket. In addition, Brodie was excluded as the source of the fingerprint found on the window screen. The print was linked to Robert Warterfield, who had previously been convicted of sexually assaulting a child less than a mile from the Richardson attack and was suspected in a number of other assaults in the area. Brodie’s case was reopened after his father wrote to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit. 
 
In 2010, prosecutors in that unit argued for Brodie’s release, and in September 2010, a Texas District Court judge granted a second state law petition for a writ of habeas corpus and vacated his conviction on the grounds of actual innocence. On November 10, 2010 the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the writ and ordered the conviction vacated. The case was then dismissed in Dallas County Criminal District Court.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals also granted a separate habeas writ and vacated his convictions for failing to register as a sex offender. The appeals court found Brodie "actually innocent."

In 2011, Brodie received a lump sum of $877,000 in state compensation plus a monthly annuity of $4,298.

In 2012, Warterfield was convicted of two other abductions and assaults of young girl--one in Dallas County and the other in Collin County--after he was linked to the crimes through DNA testing. He was sentenced to two life terms in prison.
 
- Maurice Possley

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 9/9/2019
State:Texas
County:Dallas
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1990
Convicted:1993
Exonerated:2010
Sentence:5 years
Race:White
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:19
Contributing Factors:False Confession, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No