Also on the hand down list, the court granted a writ based on actual innocence out of Harris County, but under unusual circumstances. Rolando Garcia had:
pleaded guilty to the third degree felony offense of possession of marijuana in a quantity of more than five pounds and less than fifty pounds, and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment. He did not appeal his conviction.The also overturned a 1992 death sentence because "the former statutory special issues [applied at trial] did not provide applicant's jury with an adequate mechanism for exercising its reasoned moral judgment concerning whether applicant's mitigating evidence warranted the imposition of a life sentence rather than the penalty of death."
Applicant contends that his plea was involuntary because he is actually innocent of the offense to which he pleaded guilty. ... Apparently, after Applicant had entered his guilty plea, the laboratory testing of the substance involved in this case were completed, and it was determined that the State could only have proved that Applicant possessed a misdemeanor quantity of marijuana. The parties agree that Applicant would not have pleaded guilty in exchange for a three-year sentence had he known that the State could only have proved that he possessed a misdemeanor quantity of marijuana. Relief is granted.
See prior, related Grits coverage of the Salvador mess.
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