There are many potential consequences to any crime, which is why taking criminal charges seriously is so crucial. Texas sentences range from substantial fines, jail time and probation, to name a few. On top of these possibly life-altering results is the damage to one’s reputation that any criminal conviction has on a person.
These serious consequences are why the criminal justice system is designed to provide everyone involved in it with a fair and equitable process. Unfortunately however, this process does not always succeed. For one man who was accused of crimes and later exonerated, the criminal system completely failed.
The man, who lives in Texas, was extradited to Miami on two separate occasions years apart on accusations from which he was later exonerated due to a case of mistaken identity. In 2008, the man was housed in a Miami jail on charges of armed robbery for two months before proving he was not their man. His alibi, while not ideal, was solid, as he was jailed at a Texas facility at the time the alleged crime was committed.
Most recently, the man was held on charges related to a DWI when Texas authorities found the old Miami arrest warrant. After contacting the state of Florida and confirming the details and fingerprints, the man was again extradited to Miami on the pretense of criminal charges of which he had already been exonerated in 2008.
After a month imprisoned in Texas following his DWI sentence, the man was extradited to Florida and brought before a judge, where he was able to provide paperwork pertaining to the previous exoneration. It was at this point that he was released.
The facts of this tragic case invoke concerns related to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that permits police to take involuntary DNA samples from individuals who are convicted of serious crimes. If such evidence is improperly stored, the wrong people could be accused of crimes. Such a potential result can be detrimental to one’s criminal defense and requires extreme scrutiny.
Source: Miami Herald, “For Jose Garcia, a double dose of mistaken identity,” David Noriega, June 30 2013