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Graylan Pope

Other Sex Offender Registration Exonerations
On January 21, 2014, 51-year-old Graylan Pope was stopped for a traffic violation in Dallas, Texas and arrested on an outstanding warrant for failing to register as a sex offender based on a 1981 conviction for rape of a child under the age of 17.

Pope had previously registered as a sex offender, but he subsequently moved. When he failed to re-register, an arrest warrant had been issued.

On March 25, 2014, Pope pled guilty in Dallas County Criminal District Court and was sentenced to 180 days in jail. After getting credit for time served, he was released on April 21, 2014.

Subsequently, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office conviction integrity unit discovered that Pope was not required to register as a sex offender. Pope had pled guilty to the rape charge in 1981 and had been sentenced to 5 years probation.

However, in April 1986, when his probation was terminated satisfactorily, the judge overseeing the case entered an order saying that the “judgment of conviction is hereby set aside, the indictment is dismissed, and the defendant (Pope) is discharged from said probation, and the defendant is hereby released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the judgment of conviction in this case.”

Cynthia Garza, the head of the conviction integrity unit, concluded that the judge’s order meant that Pope no longer had a conviction on his record, and therefore was not required to register as a convicted sex offender. Garza notified the Innocence Project of Texas, which began to represent Pope.

In May 2018, Pope’s attorney, Gary Udashen, filed a state law petition for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Pope contending that Pope was not required to register as a sex offender. The petition said that the judge’s order was a form of “judicial clemency” that erased Pope’s conviction and therefore, he was not required to register as a sex offender.

In August 2018, the prosecution joined with Udashen in a joint motion requesting the trial court recommend that Pope’s conviction be vacated.

On August 13, Dallas County Criminal District Judge Tammy Kemp signed an order recommending that the writ be granted. On September 26, 2018, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the writ and vacated Pope’s conviction.

On October 25, 2018, the prosecution dismissed the charge.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 11/2/2018
Most Serious Crime:Sex Offender Registration
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2014
Sentence:180 days
Age at the date of reported crime:51
Contributing Factors:Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No