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Charles Holmes III

Other Plea Cases with Inadequate Legal Defense
On March 31, 2005, 41-year-old Charles Holmes III was released from prison in California after serving a four-year term for a burglary conviction. The following day, he went to the San Diego Police Department and registered as a sex offender because he had been convicted of molesting a 7-year-old girl in Providence, Rhode Island in 1991.

Four days later, on April 3, 2005, Holmes changed his address and did not re-register. On May 9, 2005, a police officer stopped Holmes on the street as he was pushing a shopping cart. Holmes said he was homeless. He was arrested and charged with failing to register as a sex offender as well as misdemeanor charges of being under the influence of methamphetamine and providing false information to a police officer.

On November 16, 2005, Holmes pleaded guilty to all three charges and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Holmes was released from prison on November 6, 2012. Not long after his release, Holmes was arrested on a drug possession charge. On February 4, 2013, he was sentenced to a year in the San Diego County Jail.

In April 2013, Holmes sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice Sex Offender Tracking program requesting that his registration status be reviewed because he intended to return to Rhode Island upon his release from Jail.

Justice Department officials notified Holmes that he was not required to register as a sex offender, and that he had not been required to register in 2005.

Holmes’s conviction for failing to register was vacated and in August 2013, he filed a claim with the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board. In March 2014, a hearing officer agreed that Holmes was innocent of failing to register as a sex offender and recommended that Holmes be awarded $215,200 total--$100 for each of the 2,152 days he was imprisoned for that conviction.

In May, when the claim came up for formal approval, the Victim Compensation board agreed that Holmes was innocent of the crime but rejected the claim because of Holmes’s criminal record and because of his lack of any record of paid work. In July 2014, Holmes filed a petition in California Superior Court seeking to overturn the board’s decision, but it was denied. In June 2015, Holmes died.

His daughter continued to pursue the case and in August 2015, the Fourth District California Court of Appeal upheld the Compensation Board’s denial of compensation. The appellate court said, “The lack of any documented employment history, Holmes's criminal history, and the fact Holmes was homeless and a methamphetamine addict when arrested, amply support the Board's implied conclusion that Holmes would not have been gainfully employed if not for his erroneous conviction.”

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 9/2/2015
County:San Diego
Most Serious Crime:Sex Offender Registration
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2005
Sentence:9 years
Age at the date of reported crime:41
Contributing Factors:Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No