More than 30 attorneys, including a former judge and managing partners from five of Chicago’s largest law firms, called on the Cook County courts to overturn the convictions of seven men in two different murder cases.
The amicus briefs were filed on Friday and urge the judges hearing the two cases to free the seven men and declare them innocent in the wake of DNA evidence, reports the Chicago Tribune.
DNA testing made public earlier this year prove that the men were convicted in the 1990s of crimes they didn’t commit. But Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez continues to fight the exonerations in both cases.
“If you don’t believe that this … DNA evidence proves their innocence, then you don’t believe there are wrongful convictions,” said Joshua Tepfer, a lawyer at Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth.
Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Alvarez, said the office was still investigating the “new information,” but acknowledged it “has been our posture up to this point” to argue against throwing out the convictions.
The only evidence against the then-teenagers was their confessions, which were obtained without the presence of parents or counsel. All of the men have since said the confessions were coerced during intense interrogations.
DNA test results from key evidence in both cases implicate other perpetrators who have committed similar crimes.
Five of the seven defendants remain in prison; the two others were recently paroled but are forced to abide by strict restrictions.