Bradley Helps Secure Exoneration of Clemente Javier Aguirre-Jarquin After More Than a Decade on Death Row

Press Release

Bradley is pleased to announce that it has helped to secure a historic victory with the exoneration of Clemente Javier Aguirre-Jarquin of Altamonte Springs, Fla., who had been on death row for more than a decade following his initial wrongful conviction for the double stabbing murders of two women in 2004.

Mr. Aguirre, 38, who was a 24-year-old undocumented immigrant from Honduras at the time of the murders, was released from a detention facility on Monday after being wrongfully incarcerated for the past 14 years for the murder of his former neighbors.

“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 Lindsey C Boney IV, a Bradley partner who led the retrial team for Mr. Aguirre and argued the successful appeal before the Florida Supreme Court that in 2016 unanimously overturned Aguirre previous conviction and death sentence. “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.”

On the eve of opening statements earlier this week in Mr. Aguirre’s retrial in Sanford, Fla., Florida prosecutors dismissed all charges against him.

Bradley attorneys Dylan C. Black and T. Brooks Proctor also joined Boney in representing Mr. Aguirre at the retrial. These Birmingham, AL-based Bradley attorneys were joined on the retrial team by an array of dedicated counsel, including Joshua Dubin of Dubin Research & Consulting, who also serves as the Innocence Ambassador Advisor to the Innocence Project; Marie Parmer, Esq. of the Samuels Parmer Law Firm in Tampa; and Jeffrey Horowitz of Arnold & Porter LLP in New York. Frank Bankowitz of Bankowitz PA served as local counsel, and lawyers from Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP helped in the exhaustive reinvestigation of the case and preparation for trial.

Mr. Aguirre originally was convicted and sentenced to death in 2006 for the murders of Cheryl Williams and her mother, Carol Bareis. After discovering the bodies of his murdered next-door neighbors, Mr. Aguirre became a suspect almost immediately despite always claiming his innocence. He told authorities he didn't call police for fear of being deported. But he had the victims’ blood on his clothes from checking the bodies for signs of life, and he had touched the murder weapon when he believed that the perpetrator was still in the area. Mr. Aguirre’s initial trial counsel never investigated his claim of innocence, never hired forensic experts, and never sought to test for DNA any of the more than 150 items that police collected from the crime scene.

Bradley began representing Mr. Aguirre in 2013, at the request of the Innocence Project, which was instrumental in helping to prove the innocence of Mr. Aguirre. Starting in 2011, the Innocence Project helped secure DNA testing of the previously-untested evidence in the case, the results from which ultimately supported Mr. Aguirre’s longstanding, consistent innocence claim. None of the crime scene bloodstains contained Mr. Aguirre’s DNA, but eight of the stains – found in critically important locations within the crime scene and within inches of the victims’ blood – contained the DNA of the victims’ daughter/granddaughter, Samantha Williams. While the DNA testing was underway, Ms. Williams, who has not been charged with any crimes, also confessed to the crimes on multiple occasions to friends and neighbors who had no connection to Mr. Aguirre. 

To read about the exoneration of Mr. Aguirre on the Innocence Project’s website, visit https://www.innocenceproject.org/clemente-aguirre-exonerated/.