In 1946, Homer D. Kroeker put an advertisement in a Los Angeles newspaper, looking for a purchaser for his used automobile. That December, a man answered the advertisement and purchased the car, but the check he used for the purchase was fraudulent. Homer Kroeker’s two brothers were both present at the time of the fraudulent sale, as was Kroeker.
Los Angeles railroad worker Robert Baudin was arrested in connection with the fraudulent purchase of the car, and all three witnesses identified Baudin as the perpetrator. Baudin was tried without a jury and convicted of auto theft.
However, at the time of Baudin’s sentencing before Judge William R. Mackay, salesman Robert D. Trullinger came forward and asked to make a statement. Trullinger confessed that he had stolen the car from Kroeker and that Baudin was innocent. Upon seeing Trullinger, Kroeker and his brothers admitted that they had been incorrect in identifying Baudin and that Trullinger was the true perpetrator. When asked why he came forward, Trullinger explained “I was once convicted for a crime I did not commit, and I wouldn’t let that happen to anyone.” Baudin was released on May 14, 1947, and the charges against him were dismissed.
- Meghan Barrett Cousino
The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. The Registry also maintains a more limited database of known exonerations prior to 1989.
We welcome new information from any source about exonerations already on our list and about cases not in the Registry that might be exonerations.