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Court clears Texas man who has spent 12 years in prison

12-9-2004 Texas

.After 12 years in prison insisting that he was wrongfully convicted of molesting a 3-year-old girl, John Michael Harvey of Bedford in North Texas won a rare finding of innocence Wednesday from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

In a narrow decision, the state's highest criminal court agreed 5-4 with a Tarrant County judge that Harvey is "actually innocent" and would not have been convicted after the girl's recantation more than a decade later.

Eva Archer-Smith, Harvey's cousin from Houston, screamed into the telephone Wednesday after being told of the court's decision. Since Harvey, 40, began his life behind bars, his parents have died, his fiancee has left him, and he has suffered a heart attack, she said.

Archer-Smith hopes to have Harvey home in time for Christmas. "This is so fabulous," she said. "It is the perfect time of year for the light to shine." ..more.. MAX B. BAKER

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