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Jose Muniz

Other Guilty Plea Exonerations in New York
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In March 2015, a guard accused 24-year-old Jose Muniz, an inmate at the Auburn Correctional Facility in Auburn, New York, of illegally possessing a shank.

The guard, 33-year-old Matthew Cornell, reported that Muniz, who was serving a sentence for attempted criminal possession of a firearm and attempted burglary, was caught carrying the weapon during a search.

Muniz contended he was innocent and that the weapon had been planted. On March 26, 2015, however, he pled guilty to attempted promoting of prison contraband. He was sentenced 1½ to three years in prison, to be served consecutive to the sentence he was serving for the weapon and burglary convictions.

In December 2016, the Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelman revealed that Cornell admitted planting a weapon on a different inmate at the Auburn prison. Cornell said that the inmate was a member of a prison gang, and he wanted him transferred to another prison to try to break up the gang.

Because of Cornell’s admission, the inmate involved in that incident was not charged with a crime. However, Budelman then asked a Cayuga County Supreme Court judge to vacate the convictions of Muniz and four other inmates, all of whom had pled guilty even though they claimed at the time that the weapons had been planted. Cornell was the guard who said he found the weapons in all five cases.

On January 19, 2017, Muniz’s conviction was vacated and the charge was dismissed.

That same month, the convictions of Thomas Ozzborn, Sean Gaines, Donnesia Brown, and Naythen Aubain also were vacated and the charges were dismissed.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 7/17/2017
State:New York
County:Cayuga
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2015
Convicted:2015
Exonerated:2017
Sentence:1 1/2 to 3 years
Race:Hispanic
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:24
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No