In November 2006, following a car chase that resulted in a crash, a police officer found what he believed to be an unloaded pistol under the car seat of Darrell Copeland, a convicted felon. The officer testified at Copeland’s trial that Copeland was in possession of the pistol, and Copeland was convicted in May 2007 of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison. After Copeland’s conviction, the Virginia Department of Forensic Science issued a certificate finding that the gun was a replica pistol, incapable of firing, and thus not a firearm under the applicable criminal statutes. In 2008, Copeland petitioned the Virginia Court of Appeals for a writ of actual innocence. His application was supported by the prosecution, and the court granted the writ in August 2008. Copeland remained in prison on unrelated charges.