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Robert Robinson

Other Nevada exonerations
On August 26, 2011, police in Las Vegas, Nevada saw 35-year-old Robert Robinson walking with another man, Christian Cartagena, on Las Vegas Avenue. When Cartagena stopped and urinated in public, police approached and Robinson kept walking.

Robinson was stopped moments later in front of the Rockhouse Bar. When the officers asked him why he left so quickly after Cartagena was contacted, Robinson said, “Because you guys were the police. I told him not to piss outside.”

Robinson consented to a search of his person and officers found a plastic bag containing several smaller bags of white powder in Robinson’s left front pants pocket. Asked about the bag, Robinson said he had “just found that.” When a field test on the powder was positive for cocaine, Robinson was arrested on a charge of possession of a controlled substance.

On September 22, 2011, Robinson pled guilty in Clark County District Court to a charge of possession of a controlled substance. He was released on bond pending sentencing.

Robinson failed to appear for his sentencing and ultimately was discovered to have been arrested in Wisconsin.

In October 2016, ProPublica, an independent nonprofit investigative news organization, published an article titled, “Unreliable and Unchallenged.” The article detailed how in 2014 the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department had documented how field tests had produced false positive test results. At times, the results were wrong and at other times, officers misinterpreted negative results as positive findings.

However, the department continued to use the unreliable form of testing, the report said.

Following the publication of the article, the newly formed Conviction Integrity Unit at the Clark County District Attorney’s Office began reviewing cases cited in the 2014 report as having erroneous field test findings based on subsequent laboratory tests that were negative for the presence of controlled substances.

A total of five cases, including Robinson’s, were identified in which the defendants had pled guilty to the charges and subsequent laboratory tests were negative for the presence of any controlled substance. On March 2, 2017, the prosecution filed a motion to vacate Robinson’s conviction and then dismissed the case. The other four cases also were vacated and dismissed.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 6/30/2020
Last Updated: 6/30/2020
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2011
Sentence:Not sentenced
Age at the date of reported crime:35
Contributing Factors:False or Misleading Forensic Evidence
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No