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Humberto Cantu

Other Harris County Drug Exonerations
On October 15, 2009, police in Houston, Texas arrested 26-year-old Humberto Cantu after they seized a substance from him that field-tested positive for cocaine.

On October 19, 2009, Cantu pled guilty in Harris County Criminal District Court to possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to seven months in the Harris County Jail. Cantu was released on May 12, 2010 after serving his sentence.

On October 8, 2010, the Houston police crime laboratory tested the substance and no cocaine was found.

In 2014, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office discovered that although the results of laboratory tests in controlled substances 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 narcotics, but whose lab tests were negative.

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

In 2017, a defense attorney for Cantu filed a state law petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The prosecution supported the petition and in October 2017, a judge recommended that the petition be granted.

On December 6, 2017, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the writ and vacated Cantu’s conviction. On January 4, 2018, the prosecution dismissed the charge.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 1/11/2018
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2009
Sentence:7 months
Age at the date of reported crime:26
Contributing Factors:False or Misleading Forensic Evidence
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No