On January 8, 2013, police in Conroe, Texas arrested 19-year-old Israel Fuentes and accused him of selling cocaine to an undercover officer on October 22, 2012.
Without waiting for a crime lab analysis, Fuentes pled guilty on April 11, 2013 in Montgomery County Criminal District Court and was sentenced to five years in prison. His deferred adjudication on a prior assault conviction was revoked and he was given an additional five-year sentence to be served concurrently with the drug charge sentence.
In May 2013, the police crime laboratory tested the substance that police said Fuentes sold them and it tested negative for the presence of drugs. The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office notified the judge in Fuentes’ case and attorney Jarrod Walker was appointed to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
The trial court judge granted the petition and Fuentes was released on May 20, 2013. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued the writ and dismissed the charge on June 26, 2013.
– Maurice Possley
The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. The Registry also maintains a more limited database of known exonerations prior to 1989.
We welcome new information from any source about exonerations already on our list and about cases not in the Registry that might be exonerations.