NewsMan Sues Chicago After Conviction From Blind Witness' Testimony

Man Sues Chicago After Conviction From Blind Witness’ Testimony

by Cedric ‘BIG CED’ Thornton

After serving 12 years, Harris’ murder conviction was overturned by a Cook County judge after finding out that the witness to the murder was discovered to be legally blind.

A Chicago man who was convicted of murder, due in part to testimony from a witness who is legally blind, has filed a lawsuit against the city and the police department.

In April, according to The Chicago Tribune, Harris filed a federal civil rights lawsuit accusing police officers of fabricating the evidence used against him and coercing witnesses into making false statements.

“I don’t have any financial help. I’m still (treated like) a felon, so I can’t get a good job. It’s hard for me to get into school,” Harris said. “I’ve been so lost. … I feel like they took a piece of me that is hard for me to get back.”

Over four years ago, at the urging of Harris’ family, the conviction integrity unit of Cook County’s State Attorney Kim Foxx took another look at the case. It stated, among other arguments, that the key witness did not disclose to the judge that he was legally blind due to glaucoma. After investigating, prosecutors decided to vacate Harris’ conviction and sentence but decided he must stand trial again.
On Nov. 5, Cook County Judge Diana Kenworthy granted Harris’s request, saying, “So we are going to start over.”

Harris’s conviction was overturned on Dec. 5; prosecutors originally stated they intended to retry him on the charge, but after reviewing the case, they dropped all charges. He was officially released on Dec. 19.
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Source: Black Enterprise

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