Authorities free two men charged with murder as teenagers

 December 17, 2023

Two men who spent years behind bars have been released and exonerated of their crimes.

The cases involved two men who served over two decades for wrongful convictions.

The announcement

"During a press conference, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón overturned the wrongful convictions of Giovanni Hernandez and Miguel Solorio, both of whom spent more than 20 years serving for crimes they were sentenced for but did not do," CBS News reported.

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

The background

"In a news conference, District Attorney Gascón apologized to Giovanni Hernandez and Miguel Solorio for their wrongful convictions and praised the work of both his Conviction Integrity and Habeas units, emphasizing that their work helped bring added evidence and transparency to the criminal legal process," the District Attorney's Office revealed in a news release.

"Hernandez was 14 years old when he was arrested and charged for a drive-by shooting that took place in 2006 in Culver City that resulted in the death of 16-year-old Gary Ortiz," it continued.

The attorney speaks

“Like so many young people serving long, adult sentences in California’s prisons, Gio was given no hope for a future outside of prison walls,” Marisa Harris, an attorney on Hernandez’s case, said.

“However, despite this grave injustice, Gio found his way to the light," she noted, according to the Guardian.

The Northern California Innocence Project was involved in the case, submitting a claim in 2021 based on evidence that Solorio had been misidentified in a police lineup. Solorio was eventually released in November at the age of 44, spending years of his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

The shocking change of events has not freed two men wrongfully held, offering a new opportunity for the former inmates to start a new life following the difficult situation.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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