When Jose Luis Vega’s family hired Cynthia Barbare in August to defend the Mexican immigrant against a charge of possessing 25 kilos of cocaine with intent to deliver, she knew something was wrong with his case. For starters, Vega, a mechanic in an auto repair shop, did not live the flashy lifestyle of a drug dealer and did not have a criminal record, Barbare says. And after Vega was arrested, Dallas police didn’t bother to interrogate him or attempt to locate the supplier of Vega’s alleged drugs, says Barbare, a Dallas solo practitioner.

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