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Juan Quintero

Other Texas Child Sex Abuse Exonerations
https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/PublishingImages/harris%20county.png
On May 3, 2012, a young niece of Juan Quintero told her parents that the 29-year-old man had sexually assaulted her. Quintero and the girl’s family shared a house in Houston, with Quintero living in a separate back apartment with no direct access to the main section of the house.

Quintero was arrested on November 16, 2012. He hired Rigoberto Rodriguez as his attorney. In February 2013, Rodriguez began representing Quintero’s brother – the girl’s father – on separate, unrelated assault charges against the girl’s mother. Although Rodriguez said that wasn’t a problem but tried unsuccessfully to get a judge to approve a conflict-of-interest waiver clearing him to represent both brothers.

On June 4, 2013, Quintero and his attorney were in court for a pre-trial motion. A prosecutor approached and said the state was considering filing additional charges that would increase the likelihood of a lengthy prison sentence if Quintero was convicted at trial. After a brief consultation, Quintero and Rodriguez appeared before a judge, and he pled guilty to aggravated sexual assault on a child. He received a six-year sentence.

After the plea, Quintero filed a motion for a new trial. He said his plea was involuntary, because he was unaware of the extent of Rodriguez’s conflict, including why his attorney had been representing his brother. That motion was denied.

During the appeals process, Quintero’s new attorney reviewed the state’s records on the case and found that the girl had given inconsistent statements to investigators. It had taken six different interviews before the police had sufficient evidence to charge Quintero. In some statements, she had said she had seen his penis and that he had inserted it in her anus; in others, she said those events didn’t happen. She said the assault happened in the family’s living room, while her sister was nearby on the computer and her mother was watching television. In addition, the investigative file noted a history of bad blood between Quintero and his sister-in-law, who wanted him out of the apartment so her family could have the entire house.

Prior to advising Quintero to plead guilty, Rodriguez had not reviewed any of the files or talked to any of Quintero’s family members. He would say during a hearing that it wasn’t necessary for him to look at these documents or prepare a defense until his client had rejected all pleas and demanded a trial.

Quintero filed a state petition for a writ of habeas corpus on February 10, 2016, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. His petition also noted that the victim had recanted, telling her father that Quintero had not touched her. The petition also noted that Quintero’s brother had come to believe prior to the plea agreement that no crime had been committed.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted Quintero’s writ on September 20, 2017. While the court said that Quintero had not proved his innocence, it said Rodriguez’s counsel was deficient. Quintero was released from prison and placed in the Harris County Jail, pending a possible retrial. After making bail, he was released on November 1, 2017. The charges were dismissed by the Harris County District Attorney on February 5, 2019.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 2/28/2019
State:Texas
County:Harris
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2012
Convicted:2013
Exonerated:2019
Sentence:6 years
Race:Hispanic
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:29
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No