News Releases

Baker Botts Wins Major Wrongful Conviction Pro Bono Case for Innocent Virginia Man


WASHINGTON, D.C., March 15, 2019 – Baker Botts L.L.P., a leading international law firm, announced today that the firm has successfully won a Writ of Actual Innocence from the Virginia Supreme Court regarding the case of Winston Scott, who was fully exonerating from a 1975 rape for which he was wrongfully convicted.

Mr. Scott was identified through a composite sketch put together by the police with the help of the victim, who identified Mr. Scott as the perpetrator at trial.  However, DNA evidence was preserved and was tested in 2017. The DNA evidence proved that Mr. Scott was not the perpetrator. The Virginia Office of the Attorney General opposed his Writ of Actual Innocence, claiming the DNA evidence was irrelevant and that the chain of custody had not been established. The Court ultimately rejected the OAG’s arguments, finding that the DNA results were “clear and convincing evidence that no rational trier of fact would have found proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The decision marks only the second time the Virginia Supreme Court has granted a Writ of Actual Innocence opposed by the Office of the Attorney General.

Baker Botts Washington D.C. associate, Laura Smith, served as co-counsel to the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, which argued the case. Liz Hackett, Associate General Counsel at Amazon, also provided invaluable assistance, as did Baker Botts Washington D.C. partner, Ryan Bull and associate, Andrew McCartney.

Read more information on Baker Botts’ Pro Bono Practice.

Baker Botts is an international law firm whose lawyers practice throughout a network of offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit


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