From the New York Times: “In an opinion that harshly criticizes the tactics of the police and prosecutors, an Illinois appellate court on Friday night reversed the conviction of Juan Rivera, who has spent 19 years in jail for the 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old baby sitter in a suburb of Chicago.
There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime, which occurred in Waukegan, Ill., and DNA testing in 2005 excluded him as the source of sperm found in Holly’s body.
The opinion also said, “The most reasonable explanation, therefore, of who murdered the victim is not the defendant but rather someone who, unfortunately, has not yet been identified.”
Aside from the DNA issue, the court also discussed the confession Rivera gave after four days of questioning.
The impact of the decision, for both the defense and prosecution, remains unclear. If it is considered an acquittal then Rivera’s defense team would not have to obtain a separate order from the appellate court to secure Rivera’s release. However, Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Waller said Saturday that he was undecided if he would appeal the appellate court ruling to the state Supreme Court. Also, the appellate court noted that “while the DNA evidence does not exonerate Mr. Rivera, it nonetheless “embedded reasonable doubt deep into the state’s theory.”
We will have to wait and see what is going to happen. The NYT article is here. To be continued!