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Texas Judge Exonerates Three in 1994 Robbery Case

Three Texas men convicted of aggravated robbery nearly two decades ago were formally declared innocent by a district judge in Dallas on April 6, 2012. It was the first time three convictions have been overturned at once in Dallas, where there have been 30 exonerations since 2001 more than any other county in Texas.

The three men, Darryl Washington, Shakara Roberts and Marcus Lashun Smith, were originally convicted of aggravated robbery for a 1994 purse-snatching involving an elderly woman. They were three of five individuals who were falsely implicated in the crime by a faulty eyewitness; two juveniles were also implicated in the robbery, but the charges against them were dismissed.

The exonerations hinged on the confessions of four men who eventually came forward to claim responsibility for the crime. A fifth man also believed to have been involved in the robbery has died. While prosecutors have corroborated the confessions and believe them to be credible, the four men will not face criminal charges because the statute of limitations has expired.

Washington, one of the men wrongfully convicted of the robbery, was sentenced to 99 years in prison and is still serving time on a prior unrelated drug charge that was pending at the time of the robbery case and was influenced by the wrongful conviction. According to NBC, he is expected to be released within the next few months.

Smith, who had no prior convictions, was unable to post bond and served one year in the county jail. He completed five years of probation as part of a plea agreement. Robertson also had no prior convictions and received 10 years of probation in a plea agreement, but his probation was revoked and he spent five years in prison.

When facing criminal charges in Texas, it is extremely important to seek help from a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with experience in the Texas criminal justice system will work hard to defend the charges against you and ensure that your rights are protected. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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