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Archive for Friday, February 23, 2007

Judge orders release of wrongly convicted man

February 23, 2007

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— A father of three who has served 15 years in prison for a murder that occurred here while he apparently was in another country was ordered released Thursday after prosecutors chose not to retry him.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled last year that Jose Garcia must be retried or freed because his defense attorney failed to gather evidence for trial that Garcia was in the Dominican Republic when the killing took place July 16, 1991, in the Bronx.

Garcia's new attorney, Martin Klotz, said it would surprise him if his client were released because a 1999 deportation order remains lodged against the illegal U.S. resident.

The lawyer said he would work to legalize Garcia's status in the United States so he could resume living with his ex-wife and their children, all of whom are U.S. citizens.

The judge said it was "exceptionally troubling" that Garcia was convicted in 1993 at a trial based largely on the testimony of one witness.

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