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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County District Attorney's Office
Friday, March 04, 2011
Judge Grants DA Request for Full Exoneration in 1987 Conviction
- State District Judge Belinda Hill on Friday granted the Harris County District Attorney's Office request for orders that fully exonerate former inmate George Rodriguez of the 1987 aggravated kidnapping and sexual assault convictions that had imprisoned him for 17 years, District Attorney Patricia Lykos announced.
The amended dismissal orders state that advanced DNA testing, conducted at the request of the District Attorney, has confirmed that Rodriguez is actually innocent. Test results also verified that the abduction and sexual assaults of the victim, a Denver Harbor-area girl, had been committed by two other men. Manuel Beltran, 50, is serving a 60-year prison term for those offenses; Isidro Yanez, who was never charged, is now deceased.
An appellate ruling in 2005 overturned the conviction and 60-year term of Rodriguez, 50, because of faulty scientific testimony presented at his trial. Charges were later dismissed, although the issue of his innocence had never been resolved until today.
At the time District Attorney Lykos learned of Rodriguez's effort to clear his name, prosecutors were under no legal obligation to do further investigation. However, the District Attorney directed her Post Conviction Review Section to conduct an investigation and agreed to have the remaining
Assistant District Attorneys Baldwin Chin and Alicia O'Neill, both assigned to the Post Conviction Review Section, oversaw the investigation and suggested the forensic testing that cleared Rodriguez.
"Our sworn duty is to seek justice," Lykos said. "In this case, the truth has emerged, and justice has been done."
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