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Rafael Madrigal

Other California Cases with Mistaken Witness Identifications
In July 2000, a man was shot and injured in a gang related drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, California.

Several witnesses identified Rafael Madrigal in a photo lineup as either the shooter or driver of the car involved.  These witnesses testified against Madrigal at trial.

Madrigal had been at work, a 50 minute drive away, at the time of the shooting.  A co-worker could have confirmed his alibi, and his boss could have testified that he was certain Madrigal was at work because he was the only one who knew how to operate one of the machines in the production line.

However, Madrigal’s defense attorney, Andrew Marc Stein, called only Madrigal’s supervisor to the stand, who testified that he thought Madrigal was at work, but couldn’t be certain.  In addition, Stein did not present a recording of Madrigal’s co-defendant admitting that Madrigal was not involved.

In January 2002, a jury convicted Madrigal of attempted murder and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. 
In 2008, with the help of the California Innocence Project, Madrigal was able to introduce the evidence that Stein failed to present at an evidentiary hearing.

In September 2009, a United States District Court judge granted Madrigal’s habeas corpus petition on the basis of ineffective defense counsel, and overturned his conviction.  Madrigal was freed on bail in September 2009, and a retrial was scheduled for October 2010. But prior to trial, prosecutors dismissed the charges.

Madrigal sought compensation, but the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board denied the claim. Madrigal filed a lawsuit challenging the decision and in December 2016, the Second District California Court of Appeal ordered a new compensation hearing be held. The compensation board again denied Madrigal's claim.

Madrigal also filed a malpractice lawsuit against Stein. The case was settled and terms were not disclosed.
- Stefanie Denzel

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 6/28/2022
County:Los Angeles
Most Serious Crime:Attempted Murder
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2000
Sentence:53 to Life
Age at the date of reported crime:25
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No