On Dec. 18, a Texas judge recommended that a man who was convicted on child sexual assault charges have his conviction be overturned due to mistakes that were made during the criminal investigation process. The man was accused of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old boy in 2013 at an in-home day care center.
The man’s attorney and prosecutors in Williamson County were reportedly working together to get the original conviction overturned. It was said that not only did the authorities botch the investigation, but the man was given ineffective counseling during his 2014 trial. The judge agreed with this view, noting that the authorities did not interview the parents of the children who were at the day care. Further, authorities did not even obtain the list of the children and did not interview other adults in the house.
The judge also said in her ruling that the man’s defense attorney had a conflict of interest as she had represented other members of the house in criminal cases. Ultimately, the judge said that the accused man had established that he was actually innocent of the charges that he had been convicted on. The decision to actually overturn the conviction will be made by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Even if a person has already been convicted on criminal charges, there are still avenues that a criminal defense attorney could take to challenge the conviction. This may include showing evidence that the authorities failed to properly investigate the case or that the convicted person had ineffectual counsel during the original trial. Further, under Texas state law, the attorney may be able to demonstrate that the convicted person has met the standard for “actual innocence”.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, “Judge Recommends Texas Man’s Innocence in Sex Assault Case“, Associated Press, Dec. 19, 2017