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Walter Jones

Other Harris County Drug Exonerations
On February 22, 2008, police in Houston, Texas arrested 55-year-old Walter Jones after they seized a pipe from him that field-tested positive for cocaine residue.

On April 2, 2008, Jones pled guilty in Harris County Criminal District Court to possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 60 days in the Harris County Jail.

On April 15, 2008, the Houston police crime laboratory tested the pipe and no cocaine was detected.

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 Jones’s case. That report had been forwarded to the defense in 2014, but Jones had not been located.

In March 2018, Jones was arrested by Houston police and charged with possession of cocaine. At that time, the Harris County public defender’s office filed a state law petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeking to vacate his 2008 conviction. The prosecution supported the petition and in May 2018, a judge recommended that the petition be granted.

On June 6, 2018, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the writ and vacated Jones’s 2008 conviction. On July 11, 2018, the prosecution dismissed the charge. By that time, Jones had pled guilty to the 2018 charge of possession of a controlled substance and had been sentenced to a year in prison.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 7/14/2018
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2008
Sentence:60 days
Age at the date of reported crime:55
Contributing Factors:False or Misleading Forensic Evidence
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No