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Ray Hicks

Other Harris County, Texas exonerations with official misconduct
On July 5, 2013, police in Webster, Texas arrested 18-year-old Ray Hicks for possession of a counterfeit $100 bill. The police said Hicks admitted he knew the bill was fake.

On December 19, 2013, Hicks pled guilty in Harris County Criminal District Court to a reduced charge of attempted forgery. He was sentenced to 180 days in Texas state jail. He completed his sentence on February 13, 2014.

In 2016, Hicks was convicted of burglary and robbery in Dallas County, and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

In April 2021, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office sent a letter to Hicks, who was imprisoned in the Gib Lewis Unit, a state prison in Woodville, Texas. The letter informed Hicks that the U.S. Secret Service had examined the $100 bill and concluded that it was genuine.

The Secret Service had informed Webster police of its determination in February 2019, according to assistant district attorney Randi Capone, who sent the letter to Hicks.

As a result, an attorney was appointed for Hicks, and a state law petition for a writ of habeas corpus was filed. The petition included a statement from Hicks denying that he ever admitted that he believed the bill was counterfeit. “I never said I knew the bill was fake and I never tried to use it,” Hicks declared.

On September 15, 2021, Harris County District Court Judge Nikita Harmon signed an order recommending that the writ be granted on the ground of actual innocence.

On February 16, 2022, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the writ and vacated Hicks’s conviction. The appeals court declined to find Hicks was actually innocent.

“The Secret Service letter does not help to exculpate him from criminal attempt,” the court declared. “The fact that the bill was genuine was merely a circumstance impeding his ability to complete the offense; it did not negate his intent.” The court said that it was vacating the conviction because his guilty plea was “unknowing and thus involuntary.”

On April 19, 2022, the prosecution dismissed the case.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 5/9/2022
Last Updated: 5/9/2022
Most Serious Crime:Attempt, Nonviolent
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2013
Sentence:6 months
Age at the date of reported crime:18
Contributing Factors:False Confession, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No