SAN JOSE (AP) — A Northern California man convicted in a 2002 drive-by shooting that left a man paralyzed has been exonerated and freed after 17 years in prison, his attorney said Thursday.

Lionel Rubalcava, 40, who had been serving his sentence at Pleasant Valley State Prison, became a free man Wednesday when a Santa Clara County judge dismissed charges against him as about 20 of his family members erupted in shouts of joy.

Rubalcava said he wouldn’t have been able to handle the past 17 years if it hadn’t been for his family’s support and help from a legal team.

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