Horrific police procedures uncovered in wrongful conviction
Another case involving a wrongfully convicted man-who served 20 years before being exonerated-has garnered recent media attention. It’s alleged that authorities utilized illegal interrogation methods to obtain the conviction.
This case and so many others prove that the need for criminal defense in any serious criminal matter is vital.
In November 1992, two individuals were shot and killed at an apartment of one of the victims. Daniel Taylor, 17 years of age at the time (who had an alleged IQ of 70), was interrogated by Chicago police. After 15 hours of questioning, Taylor was coerced into confessing to the murders.
Once authorities obtained Taylor’s confession, they used it as leverage to coerce five other individuals into confessing to their participation in the murders as well. Along with Taylor, the boys had no involvement in the crime. Taylor, however, was later convicted of double homicide and sentenced to life in prison.
Taylor was recently exonerated for the crime. The exoneration was due to the revelation of illegal tactics utilized by the Chicago Police Department.
Serious police misconduct
According to the investigation, the Chicago police allegedly threatened Taylor and the other boys with guns, beat them and wouldn’t let them use the restroom during the entire interrogation. As a result, Taylor indicated that he had no other choice but to confess-even though he didn’t commit the murders.
Further, even if Taylor’s confession was obtained legally, he had an alibi the night of the murders-an alibi the Chicago police did not reveal to anyone.
According to a witness, the gunshots inside the apartment where the murders took place were heard at 8:43 pm. Taylor, however, was in police custody at that time. He was arrested at 6:45 pm that day for disorderly conduct and did not leave the station until 10 pm. There was no way he could have committed the murders.
The Chicago Police Department-aware that the evidence would irrefutably prove that Taylor was innocent-did not disclose the fact that he was in police custody the whole time.
History of illegal police conduct
Unfortunately, various illegal and unconstitutional police methods, such as conducting insanely long interrogations, have been used countless times by police in years past to obtain confessions out of suspects.
The Chicago Police Force, in particular, allegedly has a history of this type of misconduct. Allegations have surfaced that reveal the Department has engaged in unlawful procedures to obtain false confessions for a number of years.
The civil suit
As a result of these illegal tactics, Taylor served 20 years in prison for murders he didn’t commit. Though soon after his exoneration, he instituted a civil suit in U.S. District Court in Chicago against the city of Chicago, various city employees, and the police officers involved. He is seeking damages for violations of the 5th and 14th amendments and malicious prosecution, among others.
Fortunately, Taylor will have his day in court and hopefully be compensated for the years of freedom he lost.
Advocacy for criminal suspects
Sadly, wrongful convictions similar to Taylor’s will continue to happen. For those facing criminal charges, seeking the assistance of a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with illegal police tactics cannot be stressed enough. A lawyer can offer vital advocacy during the process.
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