False confessions remained one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in the United States,”
A man in the United States, Gerardo Cabanillas, who spent 28 years in prison for kidnapping, robbery and rape has been declared innocent and freed,
Los Angeles County prosecutors made the announcement on Tuesday.
The county district attorney’s office in a statement, said DNA testing helped exonerate Cabanillas in a 1995 attack on a couple sitting in a parked car in the city of South Gate.
Cabanillas was convicted in 1996, after he confessed to being one of two armed men who approached the couple, forced the man out and drove the woman to an abandoned house where both raped her.
Report says victims of the attacks who were told of his confession and identified Cabanillas from photo lineups, later expressed doubts in court, saying that they were pressured into identifying him,
His case was however reexamined by the Conviction Integrity Unit of the DA’s office, where DNA testing on the rape kit showed that two other people committed the assault, and last week, a judge found him factually innocent, reversed his conviction and ordered his permanent release.
Reacting in a Statement, District Attorney George Gascón apologized to Cabanillas for the miscarriage of justice and the failure of their criminal legal system.
Meanwhile, interim director Alissa Bjerkhoel in a statement, emphasized that “False confessions remained one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in the United States,”
Bjerkhoel attributed Gerardo’s situation to the practice where “Police are permitted to lie to suspects, including promises of leniency if the person confesses, adding that Gerardo would have spent the rest of his life in prison, if for the DNA evidence.
“We are thrilled for Gerardo and his family that the truth has finally set him free,” she said.