LPI Release: Ignacio Ixta Jr.

Ignacio Ixta Jr.
Ignacio Ixta Jr.

The Loyola Project for the Innocent (LPI), on behalf of Ventura Attorney Philip Dunn, is pleased to announce that Ignacio Ixta Jr. will be released from the Ventura County jail on April 12, after a 10-year battle to prove his innocence and overturn his 2009 wrongful conviction for the shooting of Miguel Cortez, in Oxnard, Calif.

On Dec. 14, 2010, at age 21, Ixta Jr. was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 34 years to life in prison for an alleged gang shooting. Ixta’s parents, Alma Ixta and Ignacio Ixta, Sr., a deacon with the Catholic Church, always believed in their son’s innocence, and fought tirelessly to prove it. They enlisted the help of several lawyers and investigators in their quest to prove their son’s innocence, as Ignacio Jr. sat in custody at Pelican Bay Prison.

Ultimately, their efforts revealed that exculpatory evidence had not been disclosed to the defense before Ixta Jr.’s trial – evidence that undermined the prosecution’s theory of the crime and pointed to someone else as the shooter.

After Ixta filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in Ventura Superior Court, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Integrity Unit agreed in a filing on March 2, 2021, that Ixta is entitled to a reversal of his conviction. Superior Court Judge David Hirsch has scheduled a hearing for April 12, 2021, at which Ixta’s conviction is expected to be reversed and he will be eligible for release.

The LPI at LMU Loyola Law School congratulates and thanks the many lawyers, especially Philip Dunn, Esq., and Andrew Wolf, Esq., who worked tirelessly with the Ixta family to obtain Ixta Jr’s release. Ignacio Jr. is now 32 years old and is looking forward to beginning his new life.

About the Loyola Project for the Innocent

The Project for the Innocent (LPI) at LMU Loyola Law School pursues claims of actual innocence on behalf of those wrongfully convicted of crimes. Students work under the supervision of founder Laurie Levenson, David W. Burcham Professor of Ethical Advocacy; Legal Director Paula Mitchell; Program Director Adam Grant and other supervising attorneys. Since 2011, the LPI has secured the release of 12 clients seeking justice after wrongful convictions. They include Emon Barnes (2020 release after 19 years in prison); Jane Dorotik (2020 release after 20 years in prison); Johnathon Ramos (2020 release after 8 years in prison); Janet Dixon (2020 release after nearly 40 years in prison); Michael Tirpak (2019 release after 25 years in prison); Maria Mendez (2018 release after 11 years in prison); Jaime Ponce (2017 release after 19 years in prison); Marco Contreras (2017 release after 20 years in prison); Andrew Leander Wilson (2017 release after 32 years in prison), Kash Delano Register (2013 release after 34 years in prison), and Obie Anthony (2011 release after 17 years in prison). Learn more at www.lls.edu/ProjectfortheInnocent.

About LMU Loyola Law School                                         

Located on an award-winning Frank Gehry-designed campus in downtown Los Angeles, LMU Loyola Law School is home to prominent faculty, dedicated students and cutting-edge programs. Committed to public service, its offerings include the Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic, where students work alongside professors and staff attorneys in 20-plus live-client clinics to hone the skills required to succeed in practice. The new LLS Anti-Racism Center connects legal scholarship, academic and policy forums, as well as on-the-ground clinical work to strengthen the law school’s efforts to resist and overcome systemic racism. Students join a 19,000-strong alumni network that features the more judges on the L.A. Superior Court than any other law school.