Texas Inmates Likely to Be Exonerated After Committee Discovers Wrongful Convictions

Then, in 2009, when the section received one of Porter's letters, lawyers and investigators from the group re-interviewed Hatton.

"Even one of the attorneys at first thought Hatton's claim was baseless, but because it's their job to investigate it they follow up and were able to develop more evidence [that proved Porter's innocence,]" said Garrett. "Ultimately what happened was witnesses were found, a woman who drove the perpetrators to the apartment came forward and said Porter was not involved and Hatton gave full names of the other guys who were involved."

Because the statute of limitations has passed, the two other men involved can't be prosecuted.

Two Texas Prisoners Released, Years After Crimes They Didn't Do

The work of the section similarly helped Green.

Green's case began in 1983, when four men abducted a woman at a pay phone, drove her to a remote location where three of the men raped her. The assailants eventually tossed the woman out of the car and fled, leading to a manhunt in north Houston.

Green was detained by officers looking for suspects in the area and was brought to stand before the victim in the headlights of a patrol car, according to Wicoff. The victim was unable to identify Green as her attacker but when Green's photo was included in a photo array a week later at her apartment, she recognized him.

"Of course she could identify him," said Wicoff, who claims the police mishandled the investigation. "She had seen Green just a week before."

The victim then again chose Green out of a lineup, and he became the only person to be charged with the crime.

In Green's case, one of the lawyers working for the section went back to the scene of the crime and gathered evidence herself, eventually retrieving an item of clothing worn by the victim during the offense. The DNA found on that item of clothing excluded Green and, with the help of the DNA database, led to the four men responsible for the crime.

As in Porter's case, the statute of limitations has run out, so the four men can longer be prosecuted either.

Both Green and Porter's exonerations will depend on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granting relief of their convictions. A spokeswoman for the court said that from the time they receive an inmate's writ it typically takes "weeks" for the exoneration to be granted.

Once exonerated, both men stand to receive $80,000 for every year they were unlawfully incarcerated. Green alone stands to receive more than $2 million under the state statute.

Green, Porter Cases Highlight Success of Post-Conviction Section

District Attorney Lykos, who is up for reelection in 2012, told ABC News that while she's proud of the work the section has accomplished thus far, there is still much more work to do be done.

"In these two cases the system worked far too slowly," said Lykos. "We are investigating every single claim of innocence."

"Whenever an innocent person is imprisoned, you have a triple injustice," said Lykos. "An injustice for those who are wrongfully confined, a denial of justice for the victim and a lack of justice for society."

Lykos said that the victims of the crimes Green and Porter were accused of are aware of the wrongful convictions but have asked for their privacy to be respected.

Garrett says that she's encouraged by the section's work but still thinks about who else might be sitting in prison for crimes they didn't commit.

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