"Rebuilding the Lives of the Wrongfully Convicted"

Chris Ochoa


chrisochoa Convicted of: Murder and Sexual Assault 
State: Texas 
Served: 11.5 years
Released: 2002 
Compensated by State: Yes 
Current Status: Employed 
Health Insurance: Yes
Then: In 1988, Chris Ochoa and his roommate were arrested for the rape and murder of an Austin-area Pizza Hut waitress. Using a coerced confession obtained in police interviews, Ochoa and his roommate were tried and convicted of both crimes. Years into their sentence, the police, Governor, and District Attorney began to receive letters from an inmate describing details of the crime scene not mentioned in public reports. The case was reopened and forensics experts were able to obtain and test the same DNA sample from the original trial. The DNA results proved the innocence of Ochoa and his roommate and identified the correct perpetrator. They were both exonerated in 2002.

Now: Ochoa graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2006 and is a zealous advocate for criminal law reform. He has worked on initiatives to require post-conviction DNA testing in Texas, better legal representation for indigent persons charged with crimes, improved compensation for those wrongly imprisoned and the creation of innocence commissions to examine cases similar to his.

Hometown: El Paso, TX