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Johnny Adams

Other Houston Drug Exonerations
On November 14, 2008, police in Houston, Texas arrested 52-year-old Johnny Adams after they confiscated a substance that field-tested positive for cocaine.

On January 9, 2009, Adams, who had a lengthy record of prior convictions for drug possession, pled guilty in Harris County Criminal District Court to a charge of possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 90 days in the Harris County Jail.

Less than a month later, on February 5, 2009, the Houston Police crime laboratory tested the substance and no controlled substance was found. The following day, the crime lab emailed a report of the testing to the Harris County District Attorney's Office, but it was inadvertently overlooked by the prosecution.

In 2014, the District Attorney's Office became aware that there were a number of cases where defendants had pled guilty prior to the completion of laboratory testing where negative results were later obtained and sent to the prosecution but not acted upon. A prosecutor was assigned specifically to sort through every single laboratory notice and identify cases where defendants had pled guilty and the results of the tests were negative.

In May 2014, the Harris County Public Defender's office was notified of the negative lab result in Adams's case. In September 2014, the prosecution filed a notice of the lab result in court. By that time, Adams had been arrested on a new drug charge and the prosecution then informed the court not to use the old conviction for any purpose.

In December 2015, the Harris County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit joined Adams's defense attorney in a state petition for a writ of habeas corpus to vacate the conviction. A trial judge recommended that habeas relief be granted and in February 2016, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted relief and vacated the conviction.

On March 11, 2016, the charge against Adams was dismissed.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 3/18/2016
State:Texas
County:Harris
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2008
Convicted:2009
Exonerated:2016
Sentence:90 days
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:52
Contributing Factors:False or Misleading Forensic Evidence
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No