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.

Adam Riojas