On June 16, 2012, 34-year-old Hien Juan Mai was stopped by police in Houston, Texas and found carrying a small amount of a white substance. When a presumptive field test was positive for the presence of cocaine, Mai was arrested.
Three days later—on June 19, 2012—Mai, who had prior felony convictions for robbery, assault, theft and drug possession, pled guilty to possession of less than one gram of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail.
In July 2012, the Houston police department’s crime lab completed testing on the substance seized from Mai and determined that there were no illegal substances present.
The Harris County District Attorney’s office, after being informed of the test results, passed on the information to the judge and Mai’s attorney. In 2013, well after Mai had served his jail term and been released, a state petition for a writ of habeas corpus was filed.
The prosecution did not oppose the petition and the trial court judge recommended that it be granted. On January 15, 2014, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued the writ and on February 28, the case was dismissed.
– Maurice Possley