Cook County prosecutors dropped charges against a man who was exonerated on an appeal for a crime he claimed he never committed. Throughout his time in prison, he maintained his innocence for a double murder that he says police pinned on him. He spent 34 years in prison on charges that he was involved in the shooting of two 14-year-old boys.
Police believed that he was cruising the streets for rival gang members. When he could not find any, they claimed he shot the boys instead. The boys were running from a Cook County home back to their father’s house to meet their curfew.
The defendant would be convicted on charges of first-degree murder and spend the next 12,000 days of his life locked up behind bars.
Old-School Police Tactics
The defendant claimed that police manipulated witnesses, coerced the defendant, and fabricated evidence in their case against him. The case involved two police officers who have faced similar allegations in other cases. They pinned the crime on an innocent man who had no involvement in the homicide at all. According to his attorneys, two eyewitnesses to the shooting identified someone other than the defendant as the shooter. He appealed his conviction, and the conviction against him was vacated. Cook County prosecutors elected not to pursue the charges, and his case was formally dismissed.
The police officers in this case are accused of using old-school police officer tactics designed to elicit false confessions. They are also accused of fabricating evidence against the defendant and manipulating witnesses to get a conviction. Such tactics were relatively commonplace in the past. Today, there is more scrutiny on police officers, and more attention is paid to how they make their cases against defendants. There is also less trust in law enforcement after several high-profile cases like these have been brought to the attention of Americans.
Old-school police tactics such as these are part of the problem that law enforcement is facing today. Communities need to be able to trust that police officers are honest and make honest cases against defendants for the system to work properly. Frame jobs such as the one mentioned above erode confidence in the police and result in innocent paying for crimes they did not commit. This man lost 34 years of his life in prison for a crime he never committed.
In this case, the two police officers who were involved in the case were implicated in other attempts to frame suspects. Exonerations have resulted in those cases as well. Nonetheless, the defendant was convicted of this crime and spent decades in prison. He can now file a civil lawsuit against the state for false imprisonment.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
David Freidberg represents the interests of Chicago residents charged with first-degree murder. Call our office today to schedule at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.