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Linda Carnes

Other Texas Cases with Female Exonerees
On November 28, 2013, Wharton County Sheriff’s officers stopped a car for reckless driving on U.S. Highway 59 near Wharton, Texas. After searching the vehicle, officers arrested the driver, 27-year-old Benjamin Kamaliazad, and his 26-year-old passenger, Linda Carnes.

Kamaliazad and Carnes were arrested and charged with possession of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and small explosive devices.

On March 18, 2014, Carnes, who had a prior conviction for burglary, pled guilty to a charge of possession of cocaine. The prosecution dismissed the other charges. Carnes was sentenced to five years in prison. Kamaliazad pled guilty to possession of a prohibited weapon and was sentenced to 194 days in jail.

In April 2014, Wharton County District Attorney Ross Kurtz informed Carnes’s lawyer that the crime laboratory testing on the powder that had field tested positive for cocaine, was negative for cocaine. On August 20, 2014, Carnes was released on bond.

In August 2014, Kurtz supported a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed on behalf of Carnes. The petition requested her conviction be vacated. On November 5, 2014, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the writ and ordered the conviction set aside. On November 6, 2014, the prosecution dismissed the charge.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 11/14/2014
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2013
Sentence:5 years
Age at the date of reported crime:26
Contributing Factors:False or Misleading Forensic Evidence
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No