In 1988, George Shull, 30, was accused of sexually assaulting a 43-year-old woman in Santa Clara County, California on Sept. 13, 1988.
A photograph of Shull was placed in a photographic lineup and the 43-year-old woman identified him as the man who assaulted her.
Shull was charged with sexual battery With a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon. On November 8, 1989, Shull pled guilty in Santa Clara County Superior Court. He was sentenced to five years in prison.
Shull served 30 months and was released. In 2006, he hired a private investigator who met with the woman who accused him of assaulting her and she indicated she believed she had made a mistake identifying Shull.
In 2007, Santa Clara County deputy district attorney David Angel and a District Attorney investigator interviewed the woman and she confirmed that her initial confidence in her identification was an eight out of a scale of 10 and that her confidence had since dropped to a four out of 10.
After Shull took and passed a polygraph test, the District Attorney’s office contacted the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara University Law School to prepare a habeas petition on Shull’s behalf.
On Dec. 10, 2009, the petition was granted and the charges were dismissed. He later sought compensation from the state of California, but the claim was denied. In 2016, Shull was granted a certificate of innocence in Santa Clara County Superior Court. He again sought compensation and in 2017, he was denied a second time.
– Maurice Possley
The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. The Registry also maintains a more limited database of known exonerations prior to 1989.
We welcome new information from any source about exonerations already on our list and about cases not in the Registry that might be exonerations.