On December 13th, 2022, in the 406th District Court presided over by Judge Oscar J. Hale, the jury found the defendant H.C., “Not Guilty” on the charge of Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. H.C. was facing 20 years in prison and The State presented evidence that was circumstantial at best. After closing arguments, the jury deliberated for only 32 minutes before returning a unanimous “Not Guilty” verdict.
The State brought four witnesses during the trial. The only two witnesses that were present when the supposed aggravated assault with a deadly weapon occurred could not identify H.C. in the courtroom. One of the witnesses was the arresting officer and the other was the alleged victim.
During the defense cross examination of the arresting officer, it was revealed that officers at the scene that night had doubts as to whether they should even arrest H.C. because of the lack of evidence. Additionally, because of the doubt the officers had, they called the Webb County District Attorney’s Office for advice. The Assistant DA that took the phone call ultimately told the officer to arrest H.C., despite expressing doubts himself. Crucial evidence to the case, such as written voluntary statements provided by key witnesses, were also lost by law enforcement. Furthermore, although H.C. had given verbal consent to the officers to search a backpack where the supposed weapon was stored, the officers decided to not search it.
The former officer also admitted that the Laredo Police Department could have procured a search warrant to dispel any doubts they had, but they chose not to. Instead, LPD and the Webb County DA’s office chose to arrest H.C., who maintained his innocence throughout the entire process and requested a trial by jury. With the help of attorney Javier Guzman from Guzman Law Firm, H.C. got his freedom back.