STORY: "Wrongful convictions point to more victims of Chicago detective Guevara," by Blogger Curtis Black, published by 'The Chicago Reporter' on July 21, 2016.
GIST: "Armando Serrano was released from Dixon Correction Center on July 20, 2016, after Cook County prosecutors agreed to drop murder charges against him and Jose Montanez for a 1993 murder. The men each spent 23 years behind bars for the now-vacated convictions. It took several hours after their murder convictions were vacated, but by 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jose Montanez and Armando Serrano were released from prison. By then they’d been waiting 23 years for justice. They’d served nearly half of a 55-year sentence for a murder they didn’t commit. Meanwhile, scores of Latino men serving long sentences – who, like Montanez and Serrano, maintain they were railroaded by disgraced Chicago police Detective Reynaldo Guevara – continue to wait. Among them are Gabriel Solache and Arturo DeLeon-Reyes, whose long-sought hearing on whether their confessions were coerced by Guevara is scheduled for Thursday morning. (On Thursday morning, prosecutors requested a postponement.) On Wednesday morning, the Cook County State’s Attorney moved to vacate Montanez and Serrano’s conviction in the 1993 murder of Rodrigo Vargas. Following “a very thorough review of this case,” prosecutors “determined that we are unable to meet our burden of proof at this time, so we believe that it is in the best interest of justice to dismiss the case,” a spokesperson for State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez told The Chicago Reporter. Not much has changed in the case since 2004, when the witness who identified Montanez and Serrano recanted his testimony in a statement to the Medill Innocence Project. Nor has anything changed since an independent review of Guevara’s cases in 2014 by former U.S. Attorney Scott Lassar found that Montanez and Serrano were probably innocent. (The city has refused to release the Lassar report.) Alvarez refused to reopen the case after the Lassar report, and continued to fight post-conviction motions for evidentiary hearings by the two men’s lawyers. It was only after an appeals court ruled they were entitled to hearings that Alvarez decided to cut her losses. The case of Armando Serrano was among ten murder convictions lacking scientific evidence and relying heavily on eyewitness testimony that The Chicago Reporter examined in 2000. As in so many of Guevara’s cases, no physical evidence linked the suspect to the crime. The witness upon whose testimony their conviction was based said Guevara told him what to say and promised he’d get a break on his own armed robbery charge.
Attorneys argued that this was a pattern that appeared again and again in Guevara’s cases.........One advocate points to a parallel situation in New York. “It would be logical for [the State’s Attorney] to do what the Brooklyn district attorney has done with the cases of Det. Louis Scarcella, where they’ve gone and reinvestigated all of the guy’s cases,” said Karen Daniel, director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern School of Law and attorney for Solache."
The entire story can be found at:
See related Chicago Innocence Center post at the link below; ""At long last freedom for these innocent men, whose cause we've embraced for 14 years. All exonerations are extraordinary but the case of Armando Serrano and Jose Montanez is singular in the obstacles that were placed in the way of justice. After nearly a quarter century, more than 30 investigative reporting students helped expose a corrupt cop who specialized in railroading innocents; a lying jailhouse snitch, and a state's attorney who obstructed justice at every turn. But the truth prevailed, thanks to heroic pro-bono attorneys and a family who never gave up hope," said David Protess, Chicago Innocence Center founder and president."
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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
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