CA Innocence Project: Man Released After 20 Years of Wrongful Imprisonment

By Talia Kruger

LOS ANGELES, CA – Anthony Chairez was released from prison last week after spending 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, according to the CA Innocence Project.

The California Innocence Project said Chairez was wrongfully arrested and convicted for attempted murder when he was just 15 years old.

According to the CIP, the key factor in his wrongful conviction was that “Chairez was tentatively identified by a witness and the victim in the case.” The true perpetrator was actually Chairez’ half-brother, Enrique, who had confessed to the crime.

“We have known for decades that eyewitness misidentifications lead to wrongful convictions and Anthony’s case is an example of just that,” said Justin Brooks, Director of the California Innocence Project.

The California Innocence Project (CIP) is a longstanding advocate for Anthony Chairez’ case, and maintains their staff has spent “well over a decade” fighting for his exoneration.

According to CIP, “In 2017, CIP filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus on Chairez’ behalf arguing Enrique’s confession to the shooting mirrored the witnesses’ testimony and is credible. Due to much needed updates to California sentencing laws, CIP was able to negotiate his resentencing and get his case remanded to juvenile court which secured his release from prison.”

Now, Chairez can enjoy life as a free man but will “spend some time on probation while he acclimates to life outside prison walls and continues to fight for his full exoneration and finding of innocence.” said CIP in a statement.

“I have been fighting for his freedom for over a decade, and I’m so excited to see him reunited with his family and loved ones. I will continue to fight to get his conviction overturned, but now I will get to do it while he is enjoying his freedom.” stated Audrey McGinn, who was the primary lawyer on the case.

About The Author

Talia Kruger is a 3rd year Criminology major at UC Irvine. She plans to get her paralegal certification and enter the legal field before eventually applying to law school. Her aim is to become an environmental attorney or criminal defense attorney, and advocate for criminal justice reform.

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