Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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David Frederick Cary



Bribery (including public corruption)


14 years

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Judicially Exonerated Released

Summary of Case:

"David Cary, his wife Stacy Cary, and Suzanne Wooten were codefendants wrongly convicted of six counts of bribery, one count of money laundering, and one count of engaging in organized criminal activity in Collin County, Texas. (Wooten was also convicted of Tampering with a Governmental Record to Defraud or Harm, a State Jail Felony.) Their prosecutions were based on the allegation the Carys gave $150,000 in monetary contributions to Wooten through her media consultant, James Spencer, in exchange for Wooten’s decision to proceed with a campaign to unseat incumbent Judge Charles Sandoval of the 380th Judicial District Court of Collin County, Texas. Underlying that allegation was the prosecution's supposition Wooten would favorably rule in a child custody dispute between David Cary and his ex-wife who he divorced in 2004. The day after Wooten defeated incumbant Sandoval in the Republican primary on March 4, 2008, he complained to then Collin County District Attorney John Roach Sr. that Wooten couldn't have won without cheating. DA Roach decided to investigate and began grand jury proceedings to aid in the investigaiton. Wooten was elected in the general election and took office in January 2009. Wooten recused herself from Cary's custody case because of her connection to an attorney in the case, and in 2010 another judge gave David Cary primary custody. DA Roach's investigation resulted in the indictment of Wooten, the Carys, and Spencer on October 14, 2010. Wooten was suspended with pay pending resolution of her charges. A superceding indictment was filed on July 14, 2011. Wooten and the Carys were convicted in separate trials during which the prosecution presented no evidence Wooten received any money from the Carys or even knew who they were during her campaign. Wooten was convicted on November 22, 2011 by a jury. To avoid serving prison time, Wooten accepted the State's offer of 10 years' community supervision in exchange for her immediate resignation ofherjudicial office and for her to waive her right to direct appeal. Wooten was sentenced on November 28, 2011 to 10 years in prison, 120 hours of community service, and a fine of $10,000 on all counts, with her prison sentences to be served concurrently, and in accordance with the pre-sentencing agreement, her prison sentence was suspended in place of community supervision (probation) for 10 years of good behavior. Her $10,000 fines were consolidated into a single $10,000 fine, and she was ordered to serve a total of 1,080 hours of community service. Wooten resigned her judgeship as a condition of probation, and she did not appeal her conviction and sentence (Some accounts have said she agreed not to appeal her convictions and sentence in exchange for suspension of her prison sentence to probation.) Wooten paid a total of $7,900 toward her fine ($7,500 on 1-4-12; $250 on 1-6-12; and $150 on 2-2-12. On October 24, 2012 the Board of Disciplinary Appeals Appointed By the Supreme Court of Texas order Wooten surrender her law license for the term of her probation, with disbarment if her probation is revoked. Stacy Cary was convicted by a jury in 2012 and sentenced to 30 days in jail and 10 years probation. Her jail sentenced was stayed pending her appeal. David Cary was convicted by a jury in 2013 and sentenced to 14 years in prison for each count to be served concurrently. He was denied a stay pending his appeal, and served 19 months and 10 days in prison before being paroled in 2014. On August 28, 2014 the Texas Ct. of Appeals affirmed Stacy Cary's convictions. Justice Kerry Fitzgerald dissented, arguing the State's evidence "negates an essential element of the bribery charges and proves appellant not guilty." Fitzgerald argued all the indictment's other counts would fail in their entirety as a result. On March 25, 2015 the Texas Ct. of Appeals reversed David Cary's convictions on the basis the prosecution introduced insufficient evidence. The State appealed the rulings. Stacy Cary appealed her ruling, and the State appealed the ruling in David Cary's case. On December 14, 2016 the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas affirmed the appeals court's ruling in David's case and reversed the appeals court's ruling Stacy Cary's case on the basis the prosecution introduced insufficient to convict them and ordered their acquittal of all counts in separate rulings. The Court ruled the indictments allegations, even if true, were not crimes under Texas law as a matter of law, therefore the Carys were not even alleged to have committed no crime. The Mandate in both cases were issued on January 9, 2017. Wooten filed a writ of actual innocence based on the insufficiency of the evidence to prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt as established by the appeals of the Cary's. The Texas Attorney General's Office, which prosecuted Wooten and the other defendants, agreed in early May 2017 Wooten's convictions should be vacated. On May 19, 2017 the Texas Ct of Crim. Appeals ruled that Wooten's convictions should be vacated and a judgment of acquittal rendered. On May 24, 2017 416th District Court Judge Andrea Thompson formally acquitted Wooten. Wooten's trial attorney, Peter Schulte, who also represented her in her declaration of innocence, called the charges against Wooten "a legal fiction that was brought by the corrupt politics of Collin County, which still exists to some extent today." The fourth defendant indicted in the case, James Stephen Spencer, accepted a plea deal to avoid a prison sentence if he was convicted after a jury trial, and on Feb. 4, 2013 he was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay fines and costs of $93,305 (As of 7-24-2018 Spencer had paid $2,495.). Based on the outcome of the cases of his three codefendants Spencer may seek to have his convictions overturned. On May 23, 2018 Wooten filed a federal civil rights lawsuit that named as defendants four individual involved in her prosecution: Roach; Christopher Milner (who was a Collins County ADA); Gregory Abbott (who was the Texas Attorney General); and, Harry White (Asst. AG of Texas). Wooten's lawsuit asserts the prosecutors are liable for actions they took during investigative phase of her case. Her lawsuit states: "the evidence presented at Judge Wooten’s trial was legally insufficient to convict her of the following nine (9) felony convictions:" [Note: The defendants full names were Suzanne Hansen Wooten, David Frederick Cary, and Stacy Stine Cary.]"

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Information Source 1:

"David Frederick Cary v. State, 507 SW 3d 761 (Tex. Ct of Criminal Appeals, 12-14-2016) (Reversing convictions based on insufficient evidence and ordering acquittal.)"

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Information Source 2:

"Wrongfully Convicted District Judge Alleges Malicious Prosecution in Lawsuit, By Angela Morris, Texas Lawyer, May 30, 2018"

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Information Source 3:

"Freedom Fighters, by William Taylor, Park Cities People, March 24, 2017"

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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