In 1988, George Shull, 30, was accused of two sexual assaults in Los Gatos, California. He was accused of assaulting a girl who was a minor on Aug. 1, 1988, and also of sexually assaulting a 43-year-old woman on Sept. 13, 1988.
A photograph of Shull was placed in a photographic lineup based on his admitted involvement in the first assault and the 43-year-old woman identified him as the man who assaulted her.
The charges in the two cases were consolidated by Santa Clara County prosecutors and on November 8, 1989, Shull pleaded guilty, although he maintained he was innocent of the second assault. He was sentenced to a combined five years in prison.
Shull served 30 months and was released. In 2006, he hired a private investigator who met with the woman involved in the second assault and she indicated she believed she 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 relating to that incident were dismissed. The conviction for the prior incident was not involved.
– Maurice Possley