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Jesse Ramos

Other Texas Cases with Inadequate Legal Defense
On October 31, 1992, police in Potter County, Texas arrested 24-year-old Jesse Ramos on a charge of sexually molesting his four-year-old daughter on July 7, 1992 when the girl spent the night at his home. At the time Ramos and his wife were divorced and living apart.

Ramos went to trial in Potter County Criminal District Court in November 1993. The prosecution presented the testimony of the girl’s grandmother, Velma Francis, who said that in August 1992, the girl was spending the night with her. They were watching the television news when a report was aired about a girl who had been sexually molested.

Francis recalled that the girl asked what that meant and when she said that a man had been accused of putting his hand in places he should not, the girl responded by saying, “My daddy did that to me.”

The girl refused to talk further about the matter, and later said she did not want to spend the night at her father’s. She was taken for a medical examination at Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo, Texas, by a physician who testified at the trial that he discovered a healed scar that he interpreted as a minor genital injury.

After the medical exam, the girl was interviewed by a social worker, who also testified and said that the girl told him that her father had touched her genitals and digitally penetrated her while she was in the bathtub at his house.

Ramos testified in his own defense and denied molesting the girl. On November 23, 1993, a jury convicted him of sexual assault. He was sentenced to probation for 10 years and fined $10,000.

In 1998, Ramos filed a state petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The writ included a medical report that stated that the genital scar that was described as evidence of molestation was too old to have been inflicted in July 1992, and that it was so small it was not evidence of prior sexual molestation at any point in time.

The petition also included reports from psychologists who listened to the audiotape of the girl’s interview with the social worker. The psychologists said that the girl “described being washed and treated for a rash, a normal act of parental childcare.”

Ramos’s lawyer, Heather Kirkwood, presented the results of interviews with jurors that showed that one juror failed to reveal during jury selection that she had been molested as a child, and that another juror failed to disclose that his children’s stepfather had been accused of child sex abuse.

The petition was rejected without a hearing and the decision was appealed. In July 2000, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered that an evidentiary hearing be held and sent the case back to the trial court.

In September 2000, the prosecution joined with the defense in a motion to vacate the conviction. On December 29, 2000, the conviction was vacated and the prosecution dismissed the charge.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 2/4/2015
State:Texas
County:Potter
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1992
Convicted:1993
Exonerated:2000
Sentence:Probation
Race:Hispanic
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:24
Contributing Factors:False or Misleading Forensic Evidence, Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No