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Joseph LaCroix

Other Idaho Exonerations
On June 11, 2017, police in Idaho Falls, Idaho, arrested Joseph LaCroix and charged him with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. During the investigation, LaCroix was alleged to have provided incorrect information about his identity, and he was charged with giving false information to a police officer, also a misdemeanor. After the police discovered LaCroix’s true name, he was charged with failure to register as a sex offender.

The court document prepared by the Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said that LaCroix, who was 33 years old, had been convicted on a sodomy charge in Oregon in 2002 and failed to register when he moved to Idaho.

LaCroix pled guilty to failure to register on August 7, 2017, and he was sentenced to seven years in prison. The two misdemeanor charges were dismissed.

LaCroix was released on June 12, 2018, then returned to prison eight days later for a probation violation. He was paroled a second time on October 3, 2019, but returned to prison on a separate violation on September 23, 2020.

On December 20, 2022, attorneys representing LaCroix moved to vacate his conviction. According to the motion, LaCroix had never been convicted in Oregon for the sex crime. He had been adjudicated delinquent. At the time of the offense, LaCroix was 17 years old; the victim was between 14 and 16 years old.

Oregon law required LaCroix to register, even though he was a juvenile, because his actions, “if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony sex crime.” Idaho’s law, the motion said, was more narrowly written and required a conviction.

The motion also noted that on June 25, 2018, just a few days after LaCroix returned to prison for his first probation violation, the Idaho State Police mailed him a letter stating that it had reviewed his registration file and determined “you do not meet the criteria to register on the Idaho Central Sex Offender Registry.” The letter said LaCroix’s record had been expunged from the Registry. LaCroix’s attorney said LaCroix never received the letter, mailed to an address in Pocatello, Idaho.

On March 8, 2023, Judge Michael Whyte of Bonneville County District Court vacated LaCroix’s conviction. “An adjudication is not a conviction, but rather a resolution, indicating that the legal case has been decided,” Judge Whyte wrote. “At no point in a juvenile case does a juvenile admit guilt, nor could the juvenile be found guilty by a court following an evidentiary hearing. Rather juveniles admit that the alleged facts/offenses in a petition are true. Neither an admission of the juvenile, nor a finding by the court that facts alleged in the petition are true, is a conviction.”

Judge Whyte dismissed the charge the next day, and LaCroix was released from prison.

On May 1, 2023, LaCroix filed a petition to receive a certificate of innocence, making him eligible for state compensation. Judge Peter Barton of Ada County District Court granted the petition on September 5, 2023, declaring LaCroix to be innocent and awarding him $319,298, plus attorney’s fees.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 9/19/2023
Last Updated: 9/19/2023
Most Serious Crime:Sex Offender Registration
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2017
Sentence:7 years
Age at the date of reported crime:29
Contributing Factors:Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No