Nearly 40 years after Mallory Vernon Nicholson’s trial, a Dallas County district court judge has agreed with prosecutors and defense lawyers that his convictions for burglary and aggravated sexual abuse of a child should be overturned.
Prosecutors in Nicholson’s 1982 trial failed to disclose reports from detectives and a doctor who evaluated the two victims that identified another suspect, according to court records signed last week by Criminal District Court 7 Judge Chika Anyiam.
Nicholson “would not have been convicted in light of the suppressed evidence,” the judge wrote.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office joined defense lawyers’ claims that evidence withheld by prosecutors should have been handed over and could have affected the jury’s verdict. Several reports were discovered in the prosecution’s file decades later, after District Attorney John Creuzot’s Conviction Integrity Unit agreed to review the case.
“It is our job as prosecutors to turn all evidence of innocence over to the defense counsel,” Creuzot said. “And it remains our job to correct past wrongs.”
Now 74, he has had to continue registering as a sex offender. When he moved to Anne Arundel County in Maryland in 2004, police there distributed fliers warning neighbors he had moved in, the Baltimore Sun reported.
“Mr. Nicholson has borne the weight of this wrongful conviction for over half his life,” said Adnan Sultan, an attorney with the New York-based Innocence Project who represents Nicholson. “He has not been able to obtain gainful employment since his release and has had to endure the stigma and humiliation of registering as a convicted sex offender for a crime he did not commit. We are thankful that he is one step closer to true justice.”