Salt Lake Co. DA vacates convictions of 2 men wrongfully tried as adults
SALT LAKE CITY — The new Salt Lake County “Conviction Integrity Unit” has just vacated two cases from 2008 and 2010.
Marlo Navarro was convicted in 2010 for drug charges after he allegedly sold drugs to an undercover officer.
Two years prior, Jose Barrera Landa was convicted for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old.
Both men were tried as adults, as their ages were mistakenly entered into the system.
They were juveniles at the time, which means they were denied proper due process.
When asked if he thinks there are more wrongful convictions out there, “I suspect there will be some more. Some are sometimes accidental errors that happen in the process but that doesn’t stop us from having to correct them.”
— Morgan Wolfe (@MorganWolfeKSL) August 24, 2021
There is a lot here, but just to make a clear note — the victim in Barrera Landa’s case was contacted recently by prosecutors and said she didn’t want to pursue charges, adding that she supported vacating his charges.
Both cases didn’t go to trial and their immigration status’ were impacted by these charges.
Prosecutors said they don’t know how or why their ages were entered incorrectly.
This type of review work of cases can be done since a law was passed in 2020, allowing it. H.B. 324 gives prosecutors power to review and overturn wrongful convictions after they are thoroughly vetted through a process.
District Attorney Sim Gill believes he will see more wrongful convictions come to light — adding it’s their job to correct them.
“To me, this is about system integrity,” said Gill. “It’s about making sure when we talk about fairness in our system, when we talk about rule of law in our system.”
Applications for wrongful convictions in Salt Lake County can be submitted to the Conviction Integrity Unit on their website.
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