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Jose Perez

Other Ventura County exonerations
On March 14, 2011, a teenager said he was robbed of his cell phone in Ventura County, California by another teenager who threatened him with a small, aluminum baseball bat.

An arrest was made on October 14, 2011, after the victim identified 19-year-old Jose Perez from a photo lineup. Perez was already facing charges on a gang-related assault.

Perez pled guilty to the robbery and assault charges in Ventura County Superior Court on June 5, 2012. He was given five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution to the victim. He was subsequently found in violation of the terms of his probation three times. On March 26, 2019, his probation was terminated, and he was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

The probation-revocation process took more than a year. During this period, Perez’s family approached the Conviction Integrity Unit of the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office and asked it to re-examine his case. The district attorney’s office uncovered new evidence that cast doubt on Perez’s guilt. Specifically, Perez’s brother said that he committed the robbery, and the victim’s original identification more closely tracked the height and appearance of the brother. Because the statute of limitations had expired, the brother couldn’t be charged.

According to the Ventura County Star, Perez’s attorney had previously raised the issue of the brother’s involvement. Around the time of court proceedings over Perez’s second probation violation, in 2017 or 2018, the attorney tried to set up a meeting between the brother and the DA’s office, but the meeting never took place.

On September 26, 2019, District Attorney Gregory Totten filed a motion to vacate Perez’s conviction on the robbery charge. In a news release, Totten’s office said: “At the present time, the conviction integrity process has not concluded that Perez is factually innocent. However, the state of the evidence casts sufficient doubt upon the conviction to warrant vacating the guilty plea.” The motion was granted on October 21, 2019, and Perez was released from prison.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 10/29/2019
Most Serious Crime:Robbery
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2011
Sentence:13 years
Age at the date of reported crime:19
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No