County of Conviction: Los Angeles
Convicted of: Second-Degree Murder
Sentence: 15 Years to Life
Years Served: 13 Years
Released: April 26, 2004
Cost of Wrongful Incarceration: $585,000
Adam Riojas was convicted of second-degree murder in 1991 for the death of Jose Rodarte in Los Angeles. At trial, Riojas maintained his innocence, asserting that he was at home in Oceanside at the time of the murder. Riojas had an alibi witness, but he was convicted largely based on faulty eyewitness identification. Riojas’ father, Adam Ramirez Riojas Sr., who is physically similar to his son, told his family before his death that it was he, and not his son, who had actually been involved in the killing.
The California Innocence Project appeared on Riojas’ behalf at his parole hearing. At one point, a deputy district attorney stated on the record that he was “seriously concerned that this inmate may have been wrongfully convicted” after hearing testimony related to Riojas Sr.’s confession. Riojas was released after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger chose not to block the unanimous decision of the parole board, which had granted Riojas parole for the second consecutive year. Riojas walked out of prison after 13 years.