Oddee online - Northwestern Law online -
You never committed the crime, but the cops broke you down so much psychologically during their interrogation that you were coerced into confessing, netting you 20 years in prison that you didn’t deserve.
That’s what happened to Juan Rivera, who was exonerated in 2012 of his wrongful conviction and imprisonment for the 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Waukegan, Illinois.
Rivera was found guilty three times, even though DNA evidence linked the sexual contact with another person. Each conviction was consequently reversed, and the third reversal finally stuck when a judge ruled that he could no longer be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Oddee online report ‘10 of the Worst Wrongful Imprisonment Cases’
Juan Rivera freed after more than 19 years behind bars for a crime it had long been obvious he could not have committed.
CWC Client Juan Rivera walked out of Stateville Correctional Center on January 6, 2012, after Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller announced that the state would not appeal a unanimous Illinois Appellate Court decision throwing out Rivera's conviction for the 1992 murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker in Waukegan.
In what the Chicago Tribune deemed ‘a withering condemnation of the Lake County criminal justice system’, the Appellate Court reversed Rivera’s conviction outright on December 9, 2011 and barred a retrial — holding that the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, had been insufficient for any ‘rational trier of fact [to] have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.’
Rivera had been convicted of the crime three times, by three juries, even though no physical evidence from the scene — including fingerprints, skin fragments, blood, and hair — linked him to the crime, and even though law enforcement records indicated that he was on electronic monitoring at his home more than two miles from the scene when the crime occurred. Before his third trial, in 2009, DNA testing positively eliminated him as the source of semen recovered from the victim, whom the prosecution alleged Rivera had raped. All three convictions rested primarily on two uncorroborated confessions that Rivera made following hours of grueling interrogation by members of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force. Northwestern Law online article, ‘Juan Rivera freed after more than 19 years behind bars for a crime it had long been obvious he could not have committed’