The Center on Wrongful Convictions raises public awareness about the prevalence, causes, and social costs of wrongful convictions through educational events at the Law School, speaking engagements, writings, and other public statements. CWC faculty and staff have written groundbreaking books and articles on the causes of wrongful convictions. The CWC co-founded the National Registry of Exonerations, a database that provides detailed information about known exonerations in the United States since 1989. The CWC's outreach focuses both on individual cases and on identifying systemic problems with the criminal justice system, including:
Please take a moment to read part of the Closing Statement made by state attorney Andy Vargas at trial. Also take the moment to look at the medical records dated back to 07/11/2011 where it describes all injuries to Alex's left hand including middle finger pharyngeal
At least one witness mistakenly identified the accused as a person the witness saw commit the crime
Police, prosecutors, or other government officials significantly abused their authority or the judicial process in a manner that contributed to the exoneree's conviction.
The Assistant State Attorneys (ASA’s)/prosecution team on this case committed misconduct on multiple grounds. Prosecutorial misconduct was committed when at the trial, they allowed testimony of a co-defendant, prior testimony/hearsay, false testimonies, and also played unsanitized tapes before the jury. This team violated multiple rules governing their professional conduct as attorneys by, as previously mentioned, also interviewing alleged witnesses who were underage, not present with a parent, and who suffered from mental health and substance abuse issues at the time of the interview. Many of the alleged witnesses for the State had and have pending cases and therefore are not new to the system, nor the conditions they suffer from. The ASA’s also accepted false testimony from witnesses with literacy issues. One witness for the State gave a statement about me to the grand jury that was different from the statement he provided about me in Michigan where he is in custody. This particular witness’ statement to Michigan names four people who are not even alleged in this case. At my trial, this witness yet again changed his statement for the third time and the ASA’s presented this and other false testimonies as evidence, failed to correct them, and actively relied on them to persuade the jury. In addition to this, one of the prosecutors initiated conversation with my mother during a recess at trial and when my mother refused dialogue, the prosecutor complained about my mother to my legal counsel yet admitted that she had approached my mother first.
(a female witness) searched and beaten in the face by male police officers at the time of the arrest for investigation; and having witnessed how I was beaten, thrown to the grown, kicked in the face, and stomped on my injured hand by police which contained pins from a prior surgery;Could not identify me when asked to identify the defendant and instead pointed to someone in the spectator area of the courtroom.
On my initial trial date, the State answered that they were not ready for trial because they could not locate their witnesses and requested the week of Chicago’s Preliminary Mayoral election as the trial date. On election day and thereafter, there was not only massive, uniformed, and armed police presence at my trial, but also in attendance, a mayoral candidate and former Chicago Police Superintendent, Gary McCarthy--who was outed from his position when the video of Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times by former Chicago Police Officer, Jim Van Dyke, was released to the public. Also in attendance was current Police Superintendent, Eddie Johnson. I worried about my safety during the trial because officers were carrying their weapons and giving my family and I intimidating stares. In addition to that, their presence not only intimidated the jury, but was also used to intimidate my family, whom they sought to remove from the seating area that they had been occupying over the course of the trial, to make space for the overflow of officers who were standing in the spectator area of the courtroom. Section 3.1 of the Supreme Court of Illinois’ Minimum Courtroom Standards in the State of Illinois, indicates that “the total seating capacity of any courtroom, including the spectator section shall be sufficient to prohibit standing.” However, the overflow of armed and uniformed officers were allowed to even stand against the walls of the courtroom.
In addition to prosecutorial misconduct, there seems to be colluding between the ASA’s/prosecutors, Chicago Police Department, and experts used by the State on my trial. Review of my transcripts will show that the lead detective on this case, Anthony Noradin, admits that he and one of the prosecutors/ASA’s drove together to Michigan to interview one of the witnesses. Also, the video expert that was utilized by the State also admitted during cross-examination that he was taken to dinner by the prosecutors upon his arrival to town for the trial. He also alleged that he could not recall how much he was being paid by prosecutors for his testimony at my trial.
Aside from this intimidation tactic, my family and I have experienced harassment by the police and prosecutors. Police standing outside of the courtroom’s entrance called my brother a “piece of shit” several times as he entered the courtroom (surveillance outside of the courtroom can verify this). The lead detective on my case, Anthony Noradin, has also been harassing a sister of mine at work who is in law enforcement with the County. Prosecutors on this case have also been boastful towards my sister during the trial and post the verdict; and as previously mentioned, they tried to implicate my mother in dialogue that they initiated.
Lead detective on this case, Anthony Noradin, has had 11 allegations against him, some involving domestic and use of force, which resulted in 28 days of suspension for one complaint and a 10 day suspension for another. His partner, and also another detective on my case, Donald Falk, has had 12 allegations against him one of which was for use of force and resulted in a 10 day suspension. In 2005, a woman by the name of Nicole Harris was convicted of murdering her four- year-old son. The lead detective on her case was also Detective Anthony Noradin who interrogated her for 27 hours during which she was threatened; pushed; called names; denied food, water, and the use of bathroom; coerced into confessing to the murder of her son, and taken to the ASA Office. In 2013, Ms. Harris was exonerated. Detective Noradin, however, has remained unaffected in his position and continues to practice police misconduct.
Inadequate Legal Defense
The exonoree's lawyer at trial or on appeal provided obviously and grossly inadequate representation.
Michael F Clancy represented Alex at trial but he did not exhaust every avenue to prove Alex's innocence. It Is the states job to prove a guilty verdict without reasonable doubt. It was Micheal F Clancy job to prove there was more than reasonable doubt
Michael did not provided a Video analyst expert of his own to help analyze the video and statement provided by the states video analysts
He also chose the jury only 14 days before trial. In such an emotional trial the attorney should take his time selecting a jury that wont be swayed by emotions
Michael failed to stay communicated with Alex 2 weeks prior to trial
At trial he left the court room for hours at a time
He failed to present any medical records to discredit the closing statement made by state attorney Andy Vargas
Informants and Incentivized Witnesses
Incentives Increase the Rate of False but not True Secondary Confessions from Informants with an Allegiance to a Suspect
Transcripts from my trial, reveal that witnesses alleged:To have literacy issues; not able to read or write;
*To have mental health and substance abuse issues, and be under-age without the presence of a parent at the time of their interview with detectives, and the Cook County State Attorney’s Office, who failed to inquire about these issues and permitted erroneous statements;
*To have been coerced by Chicago Police Detectives Faulk and Anthony Noradin (lead detective on this case) into providing false statements in exchange for less time on pending cases (with the assistance of the prosecutors on this case) and were even driven to the scene of the crime by the detectives to be instructed on how to make such false statements;
Flawed Forensic Science
A forensic analyst or other forensic expert presented evidence that was either (1) based on unreliable or unproven methods, (2) expressed with exaggerated and misleading confidence, or (3) fraudulent.
There is no DNA evidence supporting that I committed the crime. There was also no DNA taken from the counter on which the shooter touched with his hand that was bare.