In July 1978, Longino Acero entered a no contest plea to a charge of lewd conduct with an adult woman, which did not require registration as a sex offender.
But because of a clerical error, Acero’s conviction was recorded as child molestation, a crime that did require registration.
From 1994 until 2004, Acero was arrested three separate times and sentenced to prison terms ranging from four months to more than two years, each time on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender. He was publicly listed as a high-risk sex offender.
Although on each occasion Acero told his attorneys that he had never committed a crime against a minor, the attorneys failed to check the court file, and repeatedly advised him to plead guilty.
In September 2005, Acero received a letter from the San Jose Police Department informing him that his original misdemeanor conviction had been recorded incorrectly and he should never have been required to register as a sex offender.
After retaining a new attorney, Acero petitioned the Santa Clara County Superior Court to overturn his convictions for failure to register.
The court granted his petition in March 2006, his guilty pleas were withdrawn, and the charges were dismissed. Acero filed a claim for compensation from the state of California, but it was denied.
– Maurice Possley