STORY: Inmate for 15 years freed after conviction tossed in Chicago killing, by reporter Jason Meisner, published byThe Chicago Tribune on October 4, 2016.
GIST: "Norman McIntosh was in his cell Tuesday afternoon at Stateville Correctional Center when he got the news he'd been dreaming about for 15 years.........McIntosh, 37, was the third inmate in just eight days to be freed from the maximum-security Stateville facility outside Joliet after a Cook County murder conviction had unraveled. Charles Johnson was released Sept. 26 after a judge dismissed his conviction for a 1995 double murder at a Southwest Side car dealership in light of new fingerprint evidence. A day later, Mark Maxson's 20 years behind bars ended when new DNA evidence exonerated him in the brutal murder and sexual assault of a 6-year-old boy in Chicago's Roseland neighborhood........The decision to throw out McIntosh's conviction came more than three years after he filed a petition for a new trial, claiming that police had rigged a lineup and pressured several witnesses into identifying him, all of whom testified at trial but later recanted. His lawyer also turned up fingerprint evidence that appeared to point to another man as the killer, and records that showed the car McIntosh was allegedly driving that day had been impounded by the city months earlier. Last year, McIntosh's murder case was identified as one of hundreds of so-called "street files" found in old filing cabinets in the basement of the Area Central police station, files that are now at the center of a federal lawsuit alleging police routinely buried information about homicide investigations that could have helped defense attorneys prepare for trial. Blagg told the Tribune the information she found in McIntosh's street file —including lineup cards, detectives' notes and other materials — helped her piece together details of the investigation and poke holes in the police theory. In a statement Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said the decision to drop the charges was made after "additional evidence" surfaced in the case, not because of the street file litigation. Without the evidence, the office said, it wasn't confident of being able to prove McIntosh's guilt. The case began to unravel in early 2013 when (defence lawyer Jennifer) Blagg tracked down the witnesses who told her they'd been pressured by detectives to identify McIntosh as the gunman. In a sworn statement, James Hobson, who was wounded in the chest in the shooting, said police told him after he was released from the hospital that they had caught the killer and wanted him to identify the man at the police station. "They showed me a picture of Norman and said, 'This is the guy,'" Hobson said in the statement. "I knew (the shooter) wasn't Norman because the guy who did it was taller and looked older." Hobson said he made the identification only after detectives threatened to pin the murder on him because a robbery of a gang rival he'd committed had led to the killing.........Blagg also matched fingerprints to a convicted felon who lived in the neighborhood and drove a similar car, court records show. Recently, Blagg said she found records showing the owner had the car salvaged for scrap shortly after the slaying. In August 2015, while McIntosh's petition for a new trial was under review by the state's attorney's office's Conviction Integrity Unit, Blagg was contacted by attorney Candace Gorman, who had found McIntosh's street file among hundreds of other old murder cases in filing cabinets at the detective headquarters at 51st Street and Wentworth Avenue. The Tribune first wrote about the cabinets' discovery in a front-page report in April 2014. A street file on Gorman's client, reputed El Rukn lieutenant Nathson Fields, had been found there three decades after his conviction in an infamous 1981 double murder. Fields was sent to death row, but his conviction was later overturned after it was discovered the trial judge had taken a bribe to fix the case. After he was freed, Fields filed a wrongful conviction lawsuit against Chicago police and prosecutors alleging his street file was buried in an effort to frame him for the killings. The file contained evidence of other potential suspects that was not turned over to his trial lawyers. At trial in 2014, Gorman had the cabinet hauled into a federal courtroom to show the jury where Fields' file had been found. The jury, however, ruled against Fields on all but one count and awarded him just $80,000 in damages. But in April 2015, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly ordered a new trial. In doing so, Kennelly made the bombshell decision to allow Gorman to expand her investigation well beyond Fields' file, giving her wide range to dig into the rest of the cabinets in her effort to show the burying of street files was a de facto policy of the Police Department. The retrial on Fields' lawsuit is set for next month. Blagg, meanwhile, said she was able to compare the information found in McIntosh's street file with the file kept by his trial lawyers with the Cook County Public Defender's Office. There were numerous discrepancies, she said, including progress reports with times and dates that didn't match up, handwritten notes on witness statements that described the car differently and two versions of a lineup report that were signed by different supervisors. "There wasn't anything explosive, but little things that made you question different aspects of his case," Blagg said."
The entire story can be found at:
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.