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Herschel Tyson

Other Weapon Possession Exonerations
On October 31, 2015, sheriff’s deputies in Cass County, Texas arrested 62-year-old Herschel Tyson and charged him with unlawful possession of a firearm after a neighbor called 911 and said that Tyson had threatened him.

According to the subsequent indictment, Tyson had a conviction for aggravated assault from 1982 that made him ineligible to own a gun. He pled guilty in Cass County District Court on September 27, 2016 and was given a ten-year suspended sentence, reduced to five years of community supervision. On April 18, 2017, the state moved to revoke his probation, alleging that Tyson had violated the terms of his release. On December 19, 2017, Tyson entered another guilty plea to the weapons charge and as part of that deal was sentenced to three years in prison.

Tyson filed a writ of habeas corpus on October 31, 2018. His attorney noted that his 1982 assault conviction had been set aside in 1985 by the trial judge. In doing so, the judge wrote, Tyson was released from “all penalties and disabilities resulting from the Judgment of Conviction in this cause.” He was no longer a convicted felon, his appeals attorney said, and therefore he should have never been charged – much less pled guilty to – possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed and granted the writ on January 9, 2019. The charges were dismissed on January 29, 2019, and Tyson was released from prison on February 4, 2019.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 2/15/2019
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2015
Sentence:3 years
Age at the date of reported crime:62
Contributing Factors:Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No