Columbus, OH asked in Criminal Law, Appeals / Appellate Law and Civil Rights for Texas

Q: Evidence collected and destroyed in Texas, can anyone be held accountable?

Someone arrested and plead guilty under duress. They found out years later evidence was collected from scene of crime, but never tested. Nine years after the crime, defendant learned of said evidence and requested testing. They learned at this time the evidence was destroyed, so all writs were denied because they could not provide the evidence that would/could have exonerated them, is there any recourse for the defendant? Can authorities be held liable for time defendant spent in prison due to this? Also, attorney(s) represented defendant never requested the testing nor notified defendant evidence existed none bothered to remove the guilty plea until DNA testing was complete, is there any recourse or culpability for anyone in this instance?

1 Lawyer Answer
John Cucci Jr.
John Cucci Jr.
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Houston, TX

A: Your questions are complicated. The reason is over the years, the liability and duties of the police, District Attorneys, Courts, and court clerks have all changed in many ways.

The dates of the arrest and seizure are important. That would determine which laws were relevant in your matters. Unfortunetely, the fact that the would-be evidence is now destroyed, leaves the person with nothing to show. These days it depends on who had the evidence last. Now, when a DA wishes to destroy evidence, they must give the court and the defendant notice of proposed destruction.

I hope this helps.

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