On September 12, 2010, 33-year-old Sherri Frederick was arrested in Houston, Texas and charged with possession of crack cocaine. Police said Frederick, who had a history of drug and prostitution convictions, dropped a packet containing .27 grams of crack as they approached her on the street.
On October 1, 2010, Frederick pleaded guilty in Harris County Criminal District Court and was sentenced to six months in jail.
On February 23, 2011, five months after the arrest, the Houston police crime laboratory completed testing on the substance confiscated when she was taken into custody. The testing showed there were no narcotics present.
When the negative test results were reported to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, prosecutors notified the Harris County Public Defender’s office.
Frederick was released from jail on March 10, 2011.
A state petition for a writ of habeas corpus was filed jointly by the prosecution and defense and on September 28, 2011, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals set aside her conviction on the basis of actual innocence. On February 24, 2012, the charge was dismissed.
Frederick filed a compensation claim for wrongful imprisonment and in March 2012, she was awarded $40,000.
– Maurice Possley