Date of Death: June 23, 2015
Years Served: 37
Cost of Wrongful Incarceration: $2,220,000
Wrongful Convictions: Murder
County of Conviction: Santa Cruz County
Causes of Wrongful Conviction: Eyewitness error
State Compensation: Not applicable
NCIP spent 15 years and thousands of hours investigating the case of client, David Losoya, who tragically died in prison while awaiting justice in his case.
Losoya was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1978 based on a faulty eyewitness identification and spent 37 years in prison before his death on June 23, 2015. Authorities believed the crime was related to the Nuestra Familia gang, and Losoya was erroneously assumed to be a Nuestra Familia member. As a result of this false gang identification, he was placed in solitary confinement where he remained for the vast majority of his 37 years in prison.
Within months of his conviction, authorities had reliable evidence proving that Losoya was innocent of the crime, but nothing was done to rectify the wrongful conviction. In 2014 and 2015, NCIP uncovered compelling evidence of Losoya’s innocence, as well as additional evidence he was not a Nuestra Familia member. NCIP was just weeks away from filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus on Losoya’s behalf when we were notified that Losoya had succumbed to Valley Fever at Corcoran State Prison. Though this was not the resolution NCIP so fiercely worked toward, NCIP continues to pursue justice for Losoya through a posthumous pardon by Governor Brown.
On September 3, 2015, NCIP held a memorial service for David Losoya at the Mission Santa Clara de Asis. More than 70 family members, friends and supporters gathered to pay tribute to his life. Most family members and friends had not seen Losoya since his conviction in 1978. In the words of Michael Zampelli, SJ, who presided over the service, “We will stand accountable for all that we do (and don’t do) in the pursuit of justice, and there is never an excuse for us to render people invisible, to wear away their dignity, or to stand by idly when they are literally thrown away.”