News 01.18.12

Four Chicago Men Celebrate Exoneration

Caption: Terrill Swift speaks to reporters after the exoneration hearing.

Yesterday, four men were exonerated by DNA evidence in the 1994 murder of Chicago sex worker, Nina Glover. Their case has received national attention and has spotlighted the problem of juvenile false confessions. The State Journal-Register reports:

The four — 32-year-old Michael Saunders, 33-year-old Harold Richardson, 35-year-old Terrill Swift and 34-year-old Vincent Thames — were teenagers when they were convicted of killing Nina Glover in Chicago. 

Their attorneys say the men’s confessions were coerced. DNA tests conducted last year linked another man — now dead — to the crime. 

After the hearing, Swift said he was relieved and ready for the phrase “Englewood Four” to become symbolic of flaws in the justice system. The four men have become known by that name. 

Swift has been hired at a tire store in the Chicago suburbs and hopes to study criminal justice. He said he expects to always keep in touch with the other three. 

“We’re brothers now,” he said. 

In just the last four months, ten people from Illinois have been exonerated after years of wrongful imprisonment because of confessions they gave as teenagers. False confessions played a role in 28% of all the 289 DNA exoneration cases, and young people have been shown to be particularly susceptible.  

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