Flores, a legal permanent resident from Mexico with no criminal record, was charged with assault on a public servant. Flores filed a complaint with the San Antonio Police Department accusing Belver of attacking him while he was handcuffed and asserting that he kicked at Belver in self-defense.The Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in Flores' favor based on a Brady claim, not actual innocence, even though the evidence prosecutors concealed "is consistent with Applicant's contention that he did not intentionally or knowingly assault the officer."
Flores said in his complaint that after Belver handcuffed him and placed him in the back of the police car, he told Belver, “I want to kick your ass.” Flores said Belver opened the back door of the police car, yanked him out onto the ground and began beating him while he was still handcuffed. During the tussle, Flores said he kicked Belver in the face.
Belver radioed for assistance, but had managed to put Flores back into the police car by the time other officers arrived.
In May 2011, Flores received a letter from the San Antonio Police Department informing him that after an Internal Affairs Unit investigation, “corrective action” was taken against Belver, but did not specify the nature of the action except to say it would be “noted in his personnel file” and would serve “as a reference in the event there a reoccurrence of this type of action by the officer.
On December 6, 2011, Flores pled no contest to assault on a public servant in Bexar County Criminal District Court and the judge deferred an adjudication of guilt for four years. He was ordered to complete 350 hours of community service and pay $2,300 in restitution to the police department.
In April 2013, the FBI reached out to Flores to interview him because Belver was the subject of a federal investigation into allegations that [he] was beating people while making arrests and conducting improper searches without warrants.
One month later, in May 2013, Flores’s deferred adjudication was revoked because he missed three meetings with his court supervision officer, had only paid $600 in restitution and had not completed his community service. He was sentenced to prison for three years.
In May 2014, Flores was scheduled to be released from prison on parole and discovered that because of his conviction, he was subject to deportation.
In October 2014, Flores filed a state-court petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeking to vacate his conviction on the basis of actual innocence. The petition said that although the FBI investigation had not resulted in any charges against Belver, he had been suspended for 30 days without pay for filing a false report of his arrest of Flores and for failing to take Flores for medical treatment on the day of the arrest.
A hearing was held on the petition and the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office agreed that the information should have been disclosed to Flores prior to his guilty plea. A judge recommended that the writ be granted.
In September 2015, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the writ and vacated the conviction. “This information was not disclosed to the defense before (Flores) entered his plea, and is consistent with (his) contention that he did not intentionally or knowingly assault the officer,” the appeals court said. “The trial court conducted a habeas hearing, and the parties agree that the information regarding the disciplinary action against the arresting officer should have been, but was not disclosed to the defense in this case.”
In October 2015, the Bexar County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit filed a motion to dismiss the charge. On October 21, 2015, the motion was granted and Flores was released.
But that's quite a fact-pattern for an innocence case! One wonders what information SAPD Internal Affairs and the feds had that made them believe the word of the suspect over Officer Belver?