In 1990, police found cocaine in the basement of a Boston apartment while executing a search warrant. A resident said that she had seen Humberto Guzman and two other men in the basement, so police searched his home. They found cash and a pager in his home. The pager received a message about someone trying to buy cocaine. Police asked the person who paged Guzman to set up a transaction for cocaine in return for a deal with the police.
After the transaction Guzman was arrested, but claimed that he was out of the country at the time of the sale and his cousin was using his name and apartment to conduct drug deals. The only people who witnessed the deal were the two buyers and the resident. Guzman’s attorney did not contact the two buyers because he had represented them in a previous case and didn’t want a conflict of interest, despite the fact that they would not have recognized Guzman as the dealer.The jury found Guzman guilty, which he appealed based on inadequate defense.
In 1994, he was granted a retrial, which was affirmed by the Massachusetts Appeals Court in 1996. Before the retrial, two of the police officers involved in the case were indicted on federal charges of planting evidence and lying. Guzman then filed a motion to dismiss, which the Supreme Judicial Court granted in 1997.