Meet the Exonerees

Jose Morales

State: New York
Date of Birth:
Incident Date: 09/28/1987
Age at Arrest: 15
Conviction Date: 1989
Age When Exonerated: 31
Exonerated Date: 06/24/2001
Time Served: 13.5
Conviction: murder
False Confession: No
Implicated by Another Youth: No

Case Details

Jose Morales was sixteen years old when he and his eighteen-year-old co-defendant Ruben Montalvo were convicted of murder. On September 28, 1987, Jose Rivera was chased through a park in the Bronx by a group of teenagers, who stabbed and hit him with a baseball bat. Rivera’s girlfriend identified Morales and Montalvo in a lineup, and at the trial they were identified by Rivera’s son, and other witnesses who already had pending charges. In 2001, both convictions were overturned based on newly discovered, previously withheld evidence involving a priest and several other witnesses who testified that a different man previously confessed to the crime. This evidence was crucial in gaining their exonerations, and the Bronx District Attorney who initially withheld the evidence was highly criticized for doing so.