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Adam Miranda

Other California Guilty Plea Cases
On September 12, 1980, 20-year-old Robert Hosey, a drug dealer, was chased down and stabbed to death in Los Angeles, California.

Two weeks later, 21-year-old Adam Miranda and an accomplice were caught on videotape robbing a mini-mart. In the course of the robbery, Miranda shot 33-year-old Gary Black and Kelly Chandler, the clerks working behind the counter. Black was killed.

On October 3, 1980, Miranda was arrested and charged with both murders. In February 1983, he was convicted in Los Angeles County Superior Court of the robbery and murder of Black. The prosecution sought the death penalty.

During the penalty phase of the trial, Jose Saucedo testified for the prosecution that he and another man, Tomas Martinez, had purchased what they believed were PCP-laced cigarettes from Hosey. When they discovered there was no PCP in the cigarettes, they forced Hosey to go to Martinez’s house, where Miranda and others were gathered. Saucedo said that during a quarrel over the cigarettes, Hosey broke away and fled on foot.

Saucedo told the jury that he saw Miranda chase Hosey and stab him repeatedly, while he, Saucedo, played the Good Samaritan and tried to pull Miranda off his victim.

Saucedo’s testimony was the only aggravating evidence offered against Miranda, but it was enough—the jury sentenced him to death.

Saucedo subsequently testified against Miranda at a preliminary hearing in the Hosey killing. Following that testimony, Miranda pled guilty to second-degree murder for the stabbing of Hosey and was sentenced to life in prison.

On appeal, Miranda’s appellate lawyers learned that the prosecution had failed to disclose that Saucedo, while in jail, had told at least five other inmates that he, not Miranda, had murdered Hosey. The prosecution also failed to disclose that the prosecution received a letter from a man named Montez, who had shared a cell with Saucedo, recounting in detail Saucedo’s confession to the Hosey murder. Montez and three other inmates were offered leniency in their own cases in exchange for agreeing to testify against Saucedo – and their willingness to testify was used in turn to persuade Saucedo to testify falsely against Miranda.

With this new evidence, Miranda’s appellate lawyers filed petitions for habeas corpus for both murder convictions. On May 5, 2008, the California Supreme Court vacated Miranda’s conviction for the murder of Robert Hosey, and allowed him to withdraw his plea in that case; ten months later, the prosecution dismissed that murder charge.

The California Supreme Court also vacated Miranda’s death sentence for the robbery-murder of Black because the prosecution had concealed evidence that the only witness in aggravation at the penalty phase had lied under oath, and was himself the killer in the murder he attributed to Miranda.

Miranda was resentenced life in prison with parole for the murder of Black.
- Stephanie Denzel

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
County:Los Angeles
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1980
Age at the date of crime:21
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No