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Kenneth Wayne Foley

Other California CIU Cases
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In January 1995, Robert Buck heard a noise in the parking lot outside his business, Kelly's Pool Service, in Campbell, California. Buck, who was sleeping in a cot in the office, grabbed a pistol and went outside where he found a man breaking into his truck.

Buck confronted the robber, but backed off when he thought he saw a woman in the robber’s car pointing a gun at him.  Later that day, Buck reported the incident to the police and provided them with the car’s license plate number.

The car was traced to Mashelle Bullington, the woman Buck had seen.  Later that same day, 26-year-old Kenneth Foley was pulled over for making an illegal turn while driving Bullington's car.

When police learned that he had a prior record for robbery, they included his photo in a lineup shown to Buck.  Buck identified Foley as the man who was trying to steal the radio from his truck. Buck also identified Bullington as the woman in the car who pointed a gun at him.

Foley and Bullington were charged with armed robbery. At trial in Santa Clara County Superior court, Buck identified Foley and Bullington. By then, a defense investigator had tracked down the real robber, Luke Gaumond, who testified as a defense witness that Foley was not involved. Gaumond admitted he and Bullington were driving around looking for items that they could sell to a recycling center. He said that Bullington was in the car and did not have a gun--testimony that was consistent with Bullington’s testimony.

Nonetheless, in September 1995, a jury convicted Foley of armed robbery and he was sentenced to 25-years-to-life under California’s three strikes law. Bullington was convicted as well and sentenced to four years in prison.
 
After a newspaper published an article about Foley’s case in 2006 that suggested he was wrongly convicted, Foley’s attorney contacted the Chief Assistant District Attorney for Santa Clara County and convinced her to reexamine the case.

The new investigation, headed by deputy district attorney David Angel, cast doubt on the accuracy of the Buck's eyewitness testimony, leading the prosecution to request that Foley be resentenced.  Foley was released in late 2006, pending resentencing.

At the same time, the Northern California Innocence Project filed a habeas corpus petition seeking to have Foley’s conviction overturned.  In April 2007, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge granted the petition and overturned Foley’s conviction.  Prosecutors immediately dismissed the charges. Bullington's case was reduced to a misdemeanor as a result of the reinvestigation.

Foley later sought compenation from the California Victims Compensation and Government Claims Board. The claim was denied. Foley also sued Santa Clara County and received $50,000.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 8/5/2017
State:California
County:Santa Clara
Most Serious Crime:Robbery
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1995
Convicted:1995
Exonerated:2007
Sentence:25 to Life
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:26
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No