Clemente Javier Aguirre-Jarquin of Altamonte Springs, Florida, spent 14 years in prison – 10 of them on death row – after being wrongfully incarcerated for the 2004 double stabbing murders of two women who lived next door to him. His initial trial counsel never investigated his claim of innocence, never hired forensic experts, and never tested for DNA the 150+ items that police collected from the crime scene.
After being convicted, Aguirre was appointed new counsel, who, working with the New York-based Innocence Project, uncovered a host of DNA and testimonial evidence that strongly pointed to Aguirre’s innocence and to the involvement of an alternative suspect. When the court denied Aguirre’s request for a new trial based on that new evidence, the Innocence Project asked Bradley attorneys to represent him in his appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.
Lindsey C Boney IV, an attorney in Bradley’s Birmingham office, wrote Aguirre’s appellate briefs and, in April 2016, helped win Aguirre a new trial when he argued the appeal before the Florida Supreme Court. In November 2016, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously reversed Aguirre’s convictions and ordered a new trial.
The State of Florida planned to retry Aguirre and, again, to pursue the death penalty. Aguirre and the Innocence Project asked Bradley to remain Aguirre’s counsel through the retrial.
On November 5, 2018 – the eve of opening statements for the new trial, prosecutors announced they were dismissing all charges against our client. This sudden dismissal reflects Aguirre’s innocence and the legal team’s unwavering resolve since 2013 to set him free.
Our trial team included Lindsey Boney, Dylan Black and Brooks Proctor – who were joined by a host of talented lawyers from across the country, including from the Innocence Project, Dubin Research & Consulting, Arnold & Porter LLP, and several Florida-based capital lawyers. The entire legal team is thrilled that Aguirre’s ordeal is finally over and proud of Bradley’s commitment to securing this result.
Aguirre, at age 38, walked out of the detention facility a free man, wiping away tears and hugging his legal team and supporters. He is Florida’s 28th death-row exoneration.
“The dismissal of charges against Clemente is a complete vindication of his innocence in this heinous crime, as well as a credit to his entire legal team’s dogged persistence to ensure justice and to free an innocent man,” said Mr. Boney. “This very gratifying outcome also is a sobering reminder that all people deserve adequate representation and a chance to prove their innocence, especially in cases involving the death penalty.”
*All photos courtesy of Innocence Project/Phelan Ebenhack on behalf of AP