Four Texas women wrongfully convicted in 1998 of sexual assault of minors received good news from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on the day before Thanksgiving this year – they may be eligible to seek millions of dollars in compensation from the state for their unfair imprisonment that lasted almost 17 years.
If you or a loved one have been wrongfully convicted – whatever the circumstances – please reach out to our attorneys with the Trusted Prison Consultants as soon as possible.
Witness Statements Led to Release from Prison
The accused women known as the San Antonio Four were each released in 2012 and 2013 due to parole rulings and legal challenges related to medical expert testimony and witness recantation.
The two alleged victims, aged 7 and 9 at the time, are the nieces of one of the accused women, Elizabeth Ramirez. Anna Vasquez, Cassandra Rivera and Kristie Mayhugh – friends of Ramirez – were also accused of participating in the assaults while they helped Ramirez babysit.
The younger alleged victim recanted her story at age 25, telling a San Antonio station that she had be coached and threatened by a family member into making the accusations. The criminal appeals court in Texas also determined that the medical testimony given during the trial – which alleged physical indications of the girls being sexually abused – was completely false and considered so-called junk science.
Texas Law Allows Compensation for Wrongful Convictions After Prison Release
A Texas law makes the now-exonerated women eligible for a wrongful conviction award of up to $80,000 in compensation per year of wrongful imprisonment.
The ruling declaring the women’s “actual innocence” came after the women’s legal team from the Innocence Project pursued exoneration. Unfortunately, the Innocence Project did not enter into the case until ten years into the women’s sentences.
This is one reason why it is so important to work with an experienced attorney who handles criminal defense appeals. Having the right attorney on your side fighting for your release and to have the wrongful conviction overturned makes all the difference.
“Those defendants have won the right to proclaim to the citizens of Texas that they did not commit a crime. That they are innocent. That they deserve to be exonerated,” Judge David Newell held. A concurring opinion stated that “no reasonable juror would have convicted them.”
This case illustrates just how flawed the judicial system can be when it comes to wrongful convictions.
Work with an Experienced Wrongful Conviction Attorney through Trusted Prison Consultants
Trusted Prison Consultants believes that even one wrongful conviction is one too many. Unfortunately, wrongful convictions are more common than many people realize and many defendants unfairly languishing in prison do not know where to turn when it comes to fighting to have their convictions overturned or sentences reduced.
Our passionate Prison Consultants will fight to clear your name. Let us investigate the case against you and determine whether additional appeals or legal challenges may be appropriate.