Pubdate: Wed, 29 Oct 2003
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2003 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Jessica Raynor


TULIA - The town of Tulia finds itself in the national spotlight again with 
a Court TV program Thursday focusing on the discredited 1999 Tulia drug sting.

"Railroaded in Texas," a one-hour documentary produced by New York 
City-based Gordon Platt, examines the high-profile drug bust of 46 Tulia 
residents, 39 of whom were black, and the subsequent convictions of 38 
based on one undercover agent's now-discredited testimony.

"I think we really went in with the idea of telling a story of what 
happened," Platt said. "It's not an investigative show. The investigation 
was done by the attorneys and investigators before I even showed up. It was 
just getting people to tell their stories and give some perspective on what 

In August, Gov. Rick Perry pardoned 35 of the accused, putting to end the 
criminal aspects of the case.

Once the case started to receive national attention in 2002, Platt started 
researching articles and talking to attorneys and others involved in 
repairing what they saw as an injustice.

Early on, he talked to Jeff Blackburn, the Amarillo attorney who led the 
fight in getting the drug charges nullified. Blackburn put him in touch 
with the defendants and their families.

Platt also visited Tulia twice and talked with several residents who went 
on the record with their discomfort at the negative attention the case 
brought, and their confusion as to why it was a big deal in the first place.

Blackburn, who hasn't seen the documentary, said Platt's work on the 
project could make the program interesting - the most comprehensive story 
told on the topic.

"We want this story to be told," Blackburn said. "(The story) is not in 
isolation from things like it that are happening across the state, across 
the country, across the world."
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