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Walter Colbert

Other Harris County, Texas Drug Exonerations
On August 28, 2009, police in Houston, Texas arrested 30-year-old Walter Colbert after they seized a substance from him that field-tested positive for methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as Ecstacy.

On August 31, 2009, Colbert pled guilty in Harris County Criminal District Court to possession of Ecstacy. He was sentenced to 90 days in the Harris County Jail.

In October 2010, the substance was tested at the Houston Police Department crime laboratory. The test was negative for the presence of any controlled substance.

In 2014, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office discovered that although the results of laboratory tests in controlled substance cases were being sent to the office, the reports in cases that had already been resolved were not being forwarded or distributed to the specific prosecutors in the cases.

After the reports were discovered, the District Attorney’s conviction integrity unit began notifying defense attorneys and attempting to locate defendants who had pled guilty to possession of drugs, but whose lab tests were negative for the presence of drugs.

Among those reports was the lab test result in Colbert’s case. That report had gone unnoticed by the defense and prosecution at the time.

In February 2017, a defense attorney for Colbert filed a state law petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeking to vacate Colbert’s conviction. A Harris County Criminal District Court judge recommended that the petition, which was supported by the prosecution, be granted.

On March 22, 2017, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the writ and vacated Colbert’s conviction. On May 16, 2017, the prosecution dismissed the charge.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 5/27/2017
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2009
Sentence:90 days
Age at the date of reported crime:30
Contributing Factors:False or Misleading Forensic Evidence
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No