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Robert Cantu

Other Bexar County Exonerations
On October 8, 2008, Bexar County, Texas sheriff’s deputies Charles Flores and Anthony Alvarado raided a home in San Antonio, Texas. During a search of the home, they found cocaine and heroin. Although there were five people in the home, they only charged 23-year-old Robert Cantu with possession of the drugs.

Cantu, who did not live in the residence, denied possessing drugs. He contended that Flores and Alvarado beat him until he falsely confessed that the drugs were his.

In August 2009, Cantu went to trial in Bexar County Criminal District Court. Flores and Alvarado testified that Cantu admitted the drugs were his and denied that they physically abused him.

On August 7, 2009, after a two-day trial, Cantu was convicted of two counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

A year later, the Bexar County District Attorney’s office notified Cantu’s defense lawyer that Flores and Alvarado had been accused of preparing search warrants based on false information and framing people on drug charges. The officers were accused of concocting search warrants to collect money intended for confidential informants and pocketing the money.

Ultimately both officers were indicted, but neither was convicted. Both, however, were fired.

In 2014, defense attorney Dayna Jones filed a state law petition for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Cantu seeking to vacate his conviction. The prosecution supported the petition, and on December 15, 2015, Bexar County Criminal District Judge Mary Roman recommended that the petition be granted. On January 1, 2015, Cantu was released on bond.

On April 1, 2015, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the petition and vacated Cantu’s convictions.

On April 28, 2015, the prosecution dismissed the charges.

Cantu later filed a federal lawsuit seeking damages, but the case was dismissed in 2018.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 5/1/2018
Last Updated: 5/23/2018
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2008
Sentence:15 years
Age at the date of reported crime:23
Contributing Factors:False Confession, Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No