Nice Time: Falsely Convicted Man Uses Settlement For Scholarship To Make More Bleeding Heart Defense Lawyers

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Much though we love feeding you guys a constant diet of anger porn, once in a while we come across a story where just about everybody gets a hug (but only if it's consensual). And from the always-awesomeTexas Monthly, here is that story for today: After spending 18 years in prison -- 12 on death row -- for a murder he didn't commit, Anthony Graves was awarded $1.45 million in compensation by the Texas Legislature in 2011. And apart from a few treats -- a car for his mom, a BMW convertible for himself -- he's been trying to put the money to use for others. He started a foundation for children whose parents are incarcerated, and now, he's endowed a scholarship at the University of Texas Law school in the name of the attorney who won his freedom. You may want to have a hankie handy.


This past Sunday, he gave back again, this time as a way of thanking Nicole Cásarez, the Houston attorney and journalism professor who fought for eight years to secure his freedom. “I wanted to repay Nicole but I knew she’d never accept money from me,” Anthony told me. “I thought about giving her an amazing trip somewhere, but I wanted to give her something that would live on.” Finally, after consulting with Nicole’s husband, Rueben, a plan was hatched. “I knew Nicole would try to talk me out of it if she knew what I was going to do,” Anthony said. “The whole thing had to be a secret.”

So he invited a crowd of family and friends out to dinner on the pretext of a going-away party for himself, since he'll be moving to New York next year. And then he announced that the party wasn't really for himself, but for Cásarez, and handed her a framed certificate from the University of Texas Law School -- her alma mater -- telling her, “You’ve been punked!” (OK, grab that hanky now...) The certificate reads:

The University of Texas Law School Foundation Gratefully Acknowledges the

NICOLE B. CÁSAREZ ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP IN LAW

Established in 2013 with a gift from Anthony Graves to honor his defender, friend, sister, and angel, to recognize her and her students’ work to exonerate him from a wrongful conviction, and to encourage others to follow her example of hope, perseverance, courage, and humility.

“Never underestimate the power of dedicated people working for good.”

Anthony Graves says, of the law students whose education will be assisted by the donation,

“The students have some very big shoes to fill,” he said. “Nicole exemplifies what everyone should try to be—someone who fights against injustice.”

We're pretty much incapable of coming up with anything smartassed or cynical to say about this one, not even any lawyer jokes. We do not like this feeling, not even at all.

[Texas Monthly]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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