27 years served
Charge: Armed sexual assault, 3 counts; kidnapping
Sentence: 4 concurrent terms of natural life with 225 days credit for incarceration prior to sentencing
Factors contributing to wrongful conviction: Ineffective counsel at trial; serology technician error; misidentification
Jules Letemps served more than 27 years for an Orlando, FL, sexual assault and kidnapping he did not commit. Another man, armed with a knife or metal object attacked the victim at a bus stop near Jules home at around 4:30 or 5a.m. on May 29, 1989. The rapist forced her to undress and sexually assaulted her three times before she escaped, nude to the home of a Good Samaritan who gave her his robe and called police. When the police arrived, the distraught victim gave them a very general description of her attacker. She told police she would not go to the hospital to be examined and to provide a rape kit, rather, she wanted to go home and clean up. Hours later, after meeting with police, returning to her home, and showering, she returned to the area of the assault in a car with family members to search for the attacker. When she saw Jules walking to work, walking to work, they called the police who arrested him.
The only physical evidence which could have implicated or exonerated Jules was a semen stain on the robe the victim wore following the attack. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) technician who conducted serological testing on the stain reported, in error, that there was too little semen for a valid analysis. Jules’ defense attorney did not investigate the accuracy of the analysis but instead had it suppressed at trial. The jury convicted Jules based solely on the victim’s identification.
Before Centurion reinvestigated Jules’ case he had attempted to prove his innocence and regain his freedom by filing more than ten unsuccessful motions and petitions from prison, assisted only by other prisoners. He had exhausted every judicial relief. Our investigators found errors in the FDLE analysis of the semen stain which his attorney had not even investigated as well as other failures by his counsel. These findings convinced Judge Gregory A. Presnell to grant Jules’ petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on July 20, 2015. A dismissal of all charges followed.