Northwestern Frees Another Innocent Inmate

You know you're doing good work when prosecutors give up without a fight. Northwestern Law Professor Steven Drizin and the Northwestern Center on Wrongful Convictions can always be counted on to do good work. This time, their good work freed Thaddeus Jimenez from prison, 16 years into a 50 year sentence -- a sentence Jimenez started serving at the age of 13.

Juan Carlos Torres was mentioned as a possible suspect in the 1993 murder of Eric Morro. Witnesses identified Jimenez as the shooter, but a witness who was with Morro told the police that it wasn't Jimenez. The police evidently didn't like his story, and after a "lengthy interrogation" the witness changed his mind and identified Jimenez.

The case came to the attention of the Northwestern University Center on Wrongful Convictions in 2005. The center conducted an investigation and, in September 2007, sent its findings to the state's attorney's office. The office launched its own review and, along with Jimenez's attorneys, asked a judge on Friday to vacate Jimenez's sentence. The judge agreed.

Wow. Whether the Cook County prosecutors did the right thing because it was the right thing to do, or just didn't have the energy to battle Drizin and the dedicated students and staff at Northwestern, the outcome is outstanding. Meanwhile, Torres awaits extadition to stand trial for Morro's murder.

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  • Display: Sort:
    And what about (none / 0) (#1)
    by Mikeb302000 on Tue May 05, 2009 at 03:13:44 AM EST
    the cops and prosecutors and judge who allowed or actually orchestrated this injustice?  Does anything happen to them?

    well (none / 0) (#2)
    by txpublicdefender on Tue May 05, 2009 at 08:56:02 AM EST
    According to the article, this guy's attorney said they found no police or prosecutorial misconduct involved in the case.

    It's actually (none / 0) (#3)
    by Bemused on Tue May 05, 2009 at 10:39:17 AM EST
     the state's attorney quoted saying that. The quoted member of the defense team only praised the action of the state's attorney

    Excellent. Although I think the (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Tue May 05, 2009 at 10:54:54 AM EST
    last paragraph is an unnecessary gratuitous slap.  

    The rest of the story (none / 0) (#5)
    by diogenes on Wed May 06, 2009 at 05:14:46 AM EST
    According to the Chicago Sun Times, two eyewitnesses did not recant their testimony until 2006 and 2007.  The article also said that police had a taped confession by the "real murderer" but that the judge ruled that it "wasn't admissible".
    The trial judge applied the rule of law to get a legal result (all the eyewitnesses had said Jiminez did it during the trial) rather than a just one.