IL Prosecutors To Toss Conviction That Ended State Capital Punishment


Cook County, Il., prosecutors are expected to throw out the conviction from one of Illinois’ most pivotal death penalty cases, the 1982 double murder conviction that put Anthony Porter within 48 hours of execution before a stunning confession led to his release and sent another man to prison, reports the Chicago Tribune. Prosecutors are scheduled to appear in court today to seek the release of Alstory Simon, whose videotaped confession unraveled Porter’s conviction, sparking widespread reform and ultimately the end of capital punishment in Illinois.

The decision by State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to re-examine the murders of Marilyn Green and Jerry Hillard was prompted by Simon’s claims he confessed to a private investigator working with Northwestern University journalism students only after being promised a book or movie deal. Alvarez’s Conviction Integrity Unit re-examined the controversial case, raising what the Tribune calls “a frightening prospect that a sound conviction was improperly discredited, a guilty man was wrongly freed and an innocent man took his place in prison.” In calling for the reinvestigation, Simon’s lawyers said no physical evidence linked Simon to the murder, that more evidence pointed to Porter as the killer and that then-State’s Attorney Richard Devine had acted too hastily in freeing Porter in 1999 based on Simon’s confession.

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