From Color of Change
(VOD ed.: These cases are highly reminiscent of young Davontae Sanford’s case in Detroit. Click on http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/01/15/free-davontae-sanford/ to read this paper’s story on Davontae, which was also published in The Final Call. Also put his name in VOD search engine for updates.)
Recent DNA testing has proven the innocence of 10 Black men who were only children when they were forced by Illinois police to confess to murders they didn’t commit.
Some of them have been imprisoned for nearly 20 years, but despite the overwhelming evidence, which has even linked the crimes to the real killers, the state of Illinois refuses to recognize their innocence.
If enough of us speak out, we can expose these injustices and force the state of Illinois to do right by these men. Please join us in demanding that State Attorney Anita Alvarez immediately agree to overturn their convictions. It takes just a moment:
The Dixmoor Five
The Common Thread
The thread that connects both these cases? The teenagers were incarcerated as a result of confessions we now know were forced by police. Eight of the 10 teenagers confessed to police during intense and coercive interrogations, and six of the now grown men are still in custody.
Coerced confessions play a part in almost a quarter of all wrongful convictions nationwide.5 Even the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that teenagers are particularly susceptible to falsely incriminating themselves during questioning from police and should not be subjected to harsh interrogation tactics.6
Coercive interrogation practices must come to an end. Ensuring the release of these men wouldn’t just help correct a gross injustice — it would send a message to law enforcement that they can’t get away with forcing teenagers to confess to crimes they didn’t commit, and that this practice compromises the entire public’s safety.
Please join us in demanding that Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez agree to vacate the convictions of these young Black men, and when you do, ask your friends and family to do the same:
Thanks and Peace,
– Rashad, James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
August 9th, 2011
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1. “DNA evidence links man to 1991 murder, may clear 5 convicted in case,” Chicago Tibune, 04-15-11
2. “State’s response to petition for relief from judgement,” Circuit Court of Cook County, 04-29-11
3. “Man convicted in 1994 rape, murder pins hopes on advanced DNA test,” Chicago Tribune, 03-25-11
4. “State’s motion to dismiss request for post-conviction DNA testing,” Circuit Court of Cook County, 01-19-2011
5. “Understand the Causes,” Innocence Project
6. “Supreme Court case J.D.B. v. North Carolina,” Supreme Court opinion, October, 2010
Also click on http://cwcy.org/ for Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (Northwestern University) report on these cases and link to national Rutgers Law Review study.