Judge signs orders erasing criminal records for ‘San Antonio Four’
A judge here this morning signed expunction papers, erasing the criminal histories of four women who were wrongly convicted in 1994 of sexually assaulting two girls.
Elizabeth Ramirez, now 44, Cassandra Rivera, 43, Kristie Mayhugh, 44, and Anna Vasquez, 43, consistently maintained their innocence from that day 24 years ago when Ramirez’s nieces, then ages 7 and 9, accused the women of brutalizing them while on a weekend visit with their aunt.
“I wanted to thank the court for making time and signing the order of exoneration. I think that a little over 20 years ago the criminal justice system made a horrible mistake and convicted four innocent women,” said Mike Ware, executive director of the Innocence Project, which has fought for the women’s freedom. “It’s tragic. But what we can be proud of it that it does provide a process to correct mistakes it made, and it has done what the system provides.”
State District Judge Catherine Torres-Stahl signed the orders that expunged the records, and called the women up to the bench, one by one, to hand them the documents.
Having a felony conviction on one’s record can make it difficult to get employment or even a place to live. With the expunction, the women’s convictions on sexual assault are gone.
As each took the papers and read them, they cried, as did relatives who sat in the gallery of the 175th state District Court.
“It is my honor and privilege,” said Torres-Stahl. “It’s not often we have the ability to do that, to see a wrong made right.”
This is a developing story.
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