Juan Rivera Discusses His Illinois False Confession Case


Juan Rivera, who spent nearly 20 years in prison before his murder conviction was overturned by an Illinois appeals court, told law students yesterday he is training to become a medical researcher. Rivera, 39, was released in January, says the Chicago Tribune. “Life is short,” said Rivera, who got married and learned two new languages during his incarceration. “You have the power to correct a lot of wrong. Never think a person in prison is lost.”

Jane Raley of Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions blamed the case on “arrogance and an inability or refusal to admit that one is wrong.” Rivera was 19 when he was convicted of the 1992 rape and murder of baby sitter Holly Staker, 11, after a confession that his lawyers have long said was false. Raley said this “will be one of the most famous false confession cases in the country.”

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