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Weil Secures Exoneration in Texas After 26 Years in Prison

In a matter referred to Weil by The Innocence Project, a Weil pro bono team, working closely with local counsel and the Conviction Integrity Division of the Dallas, Texas District Attorney’s Office, successfully represented our client in a habeas petition to overturn his conviction. 

Our client was convicted of sexual assault in 1990 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Although our client maintained his innocence, he pled guilty fearing that if the case was taken to trial, he would get life in prison. 

After his conviction, our client discovered that he was arrested due to the victim’s testimony that one of the alleged perpetrators was wearing a hat and that he was identified by the victim solely based on his hat, not his face. In 2000, our client sought DNA testing of the evidence and materials collected, but was denied. In 2008, with the assistance of The Innocence Project, our client successfully petitioned for DNA testing, and the results of the DNA testing excluded our client as a contributor. 

Our client served more than 26 years in prison before he was released on parole and required to register as a sex offender. Since our client’s conviction, the victim recanted her testimony and identification of our client. 

The Weil Team, with the assistance of local counsel, filed a habeas petition under Texas law seeking to vacate our client’s guilty plea due to new scientific evidence, the victim’s recantation and due process grounds. The Dallas County Criminal Court signed the Findings of Fact in March 2023, finding that our client’s due process rights were violated and that his guilty plea should be vacated. The Findings of Fact are now before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.