Yet another case involving the conviction of the wrong man has made media headlines due to civil rights violations. After serving 20 years in prison, a Chicago man was recently exonerated for the wrongful conviction of two individuals.
Further investigation reveals the reasons behind the conviction-unlawful police procedures and violations of the offender’s constitutional rights.
In 1992, at approximately 8:43 pm, a witness heard gunshots from a nearby apartment. Chicago police were called and found two victims fatally shot to death inside the apartment of one of the victims.
Daniel Taylor, 17 year old male at the time, was interrogated by Chicago police officers about his involvement in the murders. Taylor denied any participation, however after 15 hours of brutal interrogation by the Chicago police, Taylor confessed to committing the murders.
Shortly thereafter, so did five other suspects. Chicago police utilized Taylor’s confession to get the others to confess in their involvement as well. Taylor was charged with double homicide and sent to prison to serve a life sentence.
While Taylor sat in prison, his attorney fought hard to get his conviction overturned because of various civil rights violations made against him during the interrogation in 1992.
Now, after serving 20 years, Taylor’s case finally received the much-needed attention of authorities and the judicial system. An investigation revealed that there was serious misconduct by various officers with the Chicago Police Department that led to his confession.
As a result, Taylor was exonerated of the double murders.
The investigation revealed that showed Taylor’s civil rights were violated.
First, Chicago police utilized alleged illegal interrogation tactics when they interviewed Taylor. According to court documents, the Chicago police questioned Taylor for 15 hours straight without allowing him to take a rest or bathroom break. Further, the officers allegedly threatened Taylor with guns and physically assaulted him. The stress of it all likely resulted in Taylor’s false confession.
Further, evidence revealed that the Chicago police failed to disclose pertinent evidence that would likely have absolved Taylor as a suspect. Specifically, that Taylor has an alibi during the time the murders were committed.
At 6:45 pm the day of the murders, Taylor was arrested for charges relating to disorderly conduct. He was in police custody until 10 pm. According to the witness, the gunshots and murder occurred around 8 pm that same night. Since Taylor was locked up, there was no way he physically could have committed the murders. The Chicago police allegedly knew this, yet kept the alibi a secret in order to secure a conviction.
Based on this evidence, Taylor was exonerated and set free.
The civil suit for wrongful conviction
Shortly after his release from prison, he filed a civil lawsuit. In the suit, Taylor alleges malicious prosecution and violations of his constitutional rights under the 5th and 14th amendments which bestow suspects the right to be free from unreasonable arrest and seizure and the right to a fair and impartial trial, among others. The defendants include the City of Chicago and various Chicago police officers.
The importance of legal advocacy
Unfortunately, illegal police tactics that violate suspect’s constitutional rights have happened countless times in the past in Chicago and other major cities like New York. And, despite the prohibition against certain police methods, they still continue to happen today.
The importance of obtaining criminal defense council for anyone facing criminal charges cannot be stressed enough. An attorney who knows the law can offer advocacy needed during the process to make sure proper procedures are followed.