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Darren Lewis

Other Harris County Exonerations
In June 2014, police in Houston, Texas arrested 48-year-old Darren Lewis on a charge of obtaining the highly addictive painkiller hydrocodone at the Artemis Pharmacy on May 10, 2014 by forging a prescription.

The prescription was signed by Louis Warfield, a physician’s assistant at the Magnum Wellness Clinic in Houston. When police questioned Warfield, he said that the prescription had been forged.

Lewis was charged as a repeat offender and faced a possible life sentence. On October 31, 2014, Lewis pled guilty in Harris County Criminal District Court to prescription fraud. The prosecution agreed not to seek a finding that he was a repeat offender and Lewis was sentenced to five years in prison.

In April 2015, the Harris County District Attorney’s office notified Lewis that at the time Warfield accused Lewis of forging the prescription, Warfield was under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for fraudulently prescribing hydrocodone.

Roe Wilson, the head of the Legal Services Bureau in the district attorney’s office, wrote that he had “learned through an internal investigation that certain witnesses in your case may have serious credibility issues that possibly affected the outcome of your case.” Wilson “strongly” suggested that Lewis contact an attorney “for advice concerning post-conviction relief in this matter.”

Lewis contacted an attorney who filed a state law petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The petition claimed that three weeks before Lewis pled guilty, Warfield, whom the state had characterized as a doctor when in fact he was a physician’s assistant, had agreed to surrender his license after the Texas Physician Assistant Board accused him of overprescribing opioids and mistreating patients seeking pain management.

Lewis signed a sworn affidavit saying that he did not forge his or anyone else’s signature on any prescription form and that he did not present any prescription form that he knew was forged.

In 2016, the trial court found Lewis’s affidavit credible and recommended that the writ be granted. The prosecution supported the petition as well.

On September 27, 2017, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the writ and vacated Lewis’s conviction. On November 1, 2017, Lewis was released on bond and on November 7, the prosecution dismissed the charge.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 1/25/2018
Most Serious Crime:Other Nonviolent Felony
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2014
Sentence:5 years
Age at the date of reported crime:48
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No