Los Angeles County Exonerates Two Men Wrongly Convicted for Decades

The Los Angeles County district attorney declared on Wednesday that two men who had been imprisoned for decades for crimes they had not committed had been cleared and released.

According to an email from the District Attorney’s Office, Miguel Solorio and Giovanni Hernandez had their convictions overturned earlier this year, and a judge declared them factually innocent on Wednesday.

District Attorney George Gascón expressed regret to both men during a press conference.

“It’s truly devastating when people are wrongfully convicted, especially when they were so young at the time of their arrest. In the case of Mr. Solorio, he was 19 years old. Mr. Hernandez was just 14 years old,” Gascón said.

Gary Ortiz, 16, was shot and killed during a drive-by in Culver City in 2006; Hernandez was found guilty in 2012 following two trials.

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He received a prison term ranging from 50 years to life. Hernandez said that at the time of the shooting, he was at home with his family.

After his case was twice brought before the District Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Integrity Unit, he was found not guilty.

Hernandez’s cellphone records revealed he wasn’t close to the shooting scene, and investigators also spoke with witnesses who hadn’t been reached before, according to a statement from the district attorney’s office.

After being found guilty of shooting Mary Bramlett, an 81-year-old woman, in 1998 in an unincorporated county region close to Whittier, Solorio served 25 years in jail.

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Authorities claimed that while Bramlett was stopped at a red light, Solorio was operating a vehicle carrying gang members when they unintentionally shot her. After playing bridge at church, she and several companions had been driving home.

Having claimed to have spent the evening with his lover, Solorio was found guilty of murder and given a life sentence without the chance of release.

According to the DA’s office statement, in 2021, Solorio’s attorney filed an innocence claim with the Conviction Integrity Unit.

Based on newly discovered information, the Unit determined that Solorio had been mistakenly identified in a photo lineup.

The Northern California Innocence Project represented Solorio, while the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic at Loyola Law School represented Hernandez.

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