After 18 Years, a Texas Woman Is Freed for a Crime She Did Not Commit
The U.S. court system is meant to provide every person with a fair trial—everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty—but what happens when that system fails? What if the judge and jury’s verdict is not reflective of the truth? One Texas woman, and many others in the criminal justice system, have experienced this firsthand. She was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and later suffered the consequences. For those who find themselves in this exact situation, is there a solution to save them from facing unwarranted penalties for criminal charges in Texas?
Rosa Jimenez Is Set Free
Rosa Jimenez spent the past 18 years behind bars for a crime she allegedly did not commit. After leaving her home in Mexico City for a better life in Austin at the age of 17, Jimenez found work as a babysitter to a 21-month-old child. The child choked on a wad of paper towels and died while in Jimenez’s care. Anyone who has a child knows that children put anything and everything in their mouth, leaving them at constant risk of choking hazards. Though Jimenez claims the child died accidentally, she was charged with murder and sentenced to 99 years imprisonment. She was not an inexperienced caregiver, as Jimenez is a mother of two, yet this accident left her life bound behind prison bars.
Over the next 15 years, numerous state and federal judges noticed discrepancies with her case—there was no physical evidence against her and she had no motive, criminal record, or history of violence. Jimenez was granted two new trials, but the state of Texas fought back on both occasions, so she never received the new trial. After six judges stated that Jimenez deserved a new trial, she was finally granted the appeal. Her legal team asserted that false evidence was given at the initial trial and that she was innocent. Jimenez has since been released on bond and The Texas Court of Appeals is in the process of determining whether to vacate the charges or recommend a retrial.
Can I Appeal My Case?
If you are in a similar situation as Jimenez—facing charges for a crime you did not commit or are the victim of an unfair trial—you may be able to appeal to a higher court. A notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days from the date you are sentenced in open court, and upon approval, a higher court may review the trial to determine whether the previous verdict supports the presented evidence and ensure that your rights were not violated throughout the trial. The appeals process can range from a few months to a few years. If an error is found in your case, the court will then determine if the error negatively impacted your case so much so that a reversal is warranted. If the error is found to be harmless, a reversal will likely not be granted.
Contact a Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney
Appealing a criminal case can be a lengthy process, though the time and money spent are well worth your freedom. At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., we firmly believe that everyone deserves a fair trial and we will help guide you toward a not-guilty verdict or reduced sentence. Our legal team assists those facing all types of criminal charges and we are committed to protecting your rights. If you are facing criminal charges or are hoping to appeal your case, call our Tarrant County criminal defense lawyers today at 214-303-9600 to schedule your free consultation.