Morris's investigation suggests that five witnesses committed perjury. As a result of publicity around the film, Adams (whose death sentence had been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 and subsequently commuted to life in prison by the Governor of Texas, William Perry "Bill" Clements, Jr) had his conviction overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals; the case was returned to Dallas County for a retrial. The district attorney's office declined to prosecute the case again and Adams was subsequently ordered released as a result of a habeas corpus hearing in 1989.
Harris had testified in the original trial that he was the passenger in the stolen car, that he allowed Adams to drive and that Adams committed the murder. He recanted this testimony at Adams' habeas corpus hearing, but never admitted guilt in a judicial setting and was never charged in the case. In 2004, Harris was executed by lethal injection for the unrelated 1985 murder of Mark Mays in Beaumont, Texas, which occurred during an attempted abduction of Mays' girlfriend.
After Adams' release from prison, he ended up in a legal battle with Morris concerning the rights to his story. The matter was settled out of court after Adams was granted sole use of anything written or made on the subject of his life. Adams himself said of the matter: "Mr. Morris felt he had the exclusive rights to my life story. ... I did not sue Errol Morris for any money or any percentages of The Thin Blue Line, though the media portrayed it that way."
Morris, for his part, remembers: "When he got out, he became very angry at the fact that he had signed a release giving me rights to his life story. And he felt as though I had stolen something from him. Maybe I had, maybe I just don't understand what it's like to be in prison for that long, for a crime you hadn't committed. In a certain sense, the whole crazy deal with the release was fueled by my relationship with his attorney. And it's a long, complicated story, but I guess when people are involved, there's always a mess somewhere."
Despite being wrongly imprisoned for twelve years, Adams received no payment from the state of Texas. It is said that if Adams were “found to be wrongly convicted under today’s law in Texas, he would get $80,000 for each year of incarceration,” additionally “at the time his conviction was thrown out, wrongly convicted prisoners could get a lump sum payment of $25,000 if pardoned by the governor.” However, since Adams was released because his case was dismissed, not pardoned, he received no payment from the state after his release for his wrongful conviction
Adams died in October 2010 but lived in such obscurity that his death was not discovered by the media until June 2011.
Read more about this topic: The Thin Blue Line (film)
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