New DNA test results prove that nine Chicago-area men were convicted in the 1990s of crimes they didn’t commit. Five of them remain behind bars in Illinois, and prosecutors are refusing to cooperate with the Innocence Project and other attorneys seeking their release.
Today the Innocence Project partnered with
Color of Change
and other organizations to launch a petition calling on Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to join us in calling for the men’s convictions to be vacated.
Sign the petition here.
The nine men were convicted of two separate murders three years and 12 miles apart, but their cases bear striking similarities. All nine were teenagers when they were arrested. Seven of them confessed under pressure, and all seven have since said the confessions were coerced during intense interrogations. DNA test results from key evidence in both cases implicates other perpetrators who have committed similar crimes, but Cook County prosecutors have attempted to downplay the evidence, arguing to keep the convictions of these nine young men intact.
In both cases, the Innocence Project is working with the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (at Northwestern Law School), the Exoneration Project (at the University of Chicago Law School) and private attorneys.
We’ll post updates here as the campaign progresses.