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Ronald Reno

Other California Guilty Plea Cases
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On April 4, 1996, police found a handgun hidden in a boot box during a search of 32-year-old Ronald Reno’s car in Fresno, California. Reno maintained that the gun did not belong to him but was instead property of his acquaintance Preston Marsh.
 
Though he maintained his innocence, Reno, a twice-convicted felon, was convinced by his attorney to plead guilty to possession of a handgun. He was sentenced 25 years to life under California’s “Three Strikes” law.

Several years later, Reno encountered Marsh in prison and Marsh admitted the gun belonged to him.  Marsh provided a declaration to his attorney stating that he had hidden the gun in Reno’s car and that Reno had been completely unaware of it.
 
Based on this evidence, Reno filed a state law petition for a writ of habeas corpus. In a deal struck with the prosecutor on January 22, 2002, Reno pled guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of fraudulent use of a credit card in exchange for the granting of the writ, the dismissal of the felony gun charge, and credit for time already served. He was released from prison the next day.
 
Charles Armbrust
 

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
State:California
County:Fresno
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1996
Convicted:1997
Exonerated:2002
Sentence:25 to Life
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:32
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No