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Oppo dump! O’Brien blamed for millions in wrongful conviction settlements

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020

* Regarding Cook County State’s Attorney candidate Pat O’Brien

The City Of Chicago, The State Of Illinois & Cook County Paid Out A Total Of Over $64 Million In Settlements Due To Wrongful Convictions Under Pat O’Brien

From March 1989 through October 1993, O’Brien served as chief of criminal prosecutions for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. In total, 20 men who were wrongfully convicted during O’Brien’s tenure later received monetary compensation from the City of Chicago, Cook County or the State of Illinois, or are currently suing for compensation. Due to these wrongful convictions under O’Brien, Illinois taxpayers were on the hook for over $64 million in settlement payouts (with several lawsuits pending), including $61.2 million from the City of Chicago, over $1.9 million from the State of Illinois, and $1.25 million from Cook County. The cases are as follows:

    • Juan Johnson was wrongfully convicted of murder based on witness misidentification that was coerced by police. After his 2004 acquittal, Johnson settled with the City of Chicago for $16.4 million in damages.
    • Pat O’Brien was the “lead prosecutor” in the 1986 rape and murder of 23-year-old medical student Lori Roscetti. Four men were wrongfully convicted in 1988 of kidnapping, rape, and murder, and sentenced to life in prison. Almost 15 years after the trial, key witnesses recanted their testimonies, including witnesses who said they gave false testimony for reduced sentences. DNA evidence also cleared them. The wrongfully convicted men received a total of $10.4 million in compensation from the City of Chicago and $480,000 from the State of Illinois
    • James Kluppelberg was convicted in 1989 of arson and multiple counts of murder; the conviction was overturned after it was discovered police tortured a false confession out of Kluppelberg. In 2004 the City of Chicago agreed to pay $9.3 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Kluppelberg and in 2013 Kluppelberg received $213,600 from the State of Illinois in compensation.
    • Madison Hobley was arrested for setting a fire that claimed the lives of his wife, infant son, and five other people; the 1990 conviction was overturned after it was discovered police tortured a false confession out of Hobley. Hobley settled with the City of Chicago for $7.5 million after he was wrongfully convicted of arson and spent over a decade on death row. He also received $161,005 in compensation from the State of Illinois.
    • Ronald Kitchen was convicted in 1990 of murdering five people; the conviction was overturned after it was discovered police tortured a false confession out of Kitchen. The City of Chicago agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by Kitchen for $6.15 million over his wrongful conviction, and Kitchen received $199,000 in compensation from the State of Illinois.
    • Aaron Patterson was wrongfully convicted in 1989 of murder after his confession was obtained via torture. Patterson settled a federal civil rights suit against the City of Chicago for $5 million and received $161,500 in compensation from the State of Illinois.
    • Shawn Whirl was wrongfully convicted in 1991 of murder due to a false confession. In 2017 Whirl settled a civil rights lawsuit with the City of Chicago for $4 million.
    • In 1991, Miguel Castillo was convicted of murdering Rene Chinea. A decade later, based on affidavits and its own reinvestigation of the case, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office agreed that a new trial was warranted and prosecutors dismissed the charges. Castillo settled a civil case with the City of Chicago for $1.2 million. He also received $127,786 in compensation from the State of Illinois.
    • John Willis was convicted of two armed robberies and rapes; the conviction was overturned after it came to light that an analyst withheld lab results exonerating Willis. In compensation Willis received $1.25 million each from the City of Chicago and Cook County, $100,000 from the State of Illinois, and $125,035.97 from the Illinois Court of Claims.
    • Anthony Jakes was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1993. After the Illinois Torture and Relief Commission concluded Jakes’s claims of abuse were credible, his conviction was vacated. Jakes was awarded $230,810 in compensation from the State of Illinois. In 2019 Jakes filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Chicago seeking damages for his wrongful conviction.
    • Lathierial Boyd was wrongfully convicted in 1990 of murder based on coerced witness identification. Boyd was awarded $213,624 in compensation by the State of Illinois.
    • James Gibson was wrongfully convicted in 1991 of murder after his confession was obtained through police torture. Gibson was awarded $177,071 in compensation by the State of Illinois and has a pending lawsuit against the City of Chicago seeking compensation for his wrongful conviction.
    • Algie Crivens was wrongfully convicted in 1992 of murder after eyewitness testimony which would have confirmed another man’s confession was rejected. Then-Illinois Governor George Ryan would pardon Crivens based on innocence, qualifying Crivens for $128,000 in restitution from the State of Illinois.
    • Xavier Catron was wrongfully convicted in 1992 of murder based on coerced witness testimony. Catron received $127,786 from the State of Illinois in compensation.
    • Richard Johnson was wrongfully convicted in 1992 due to ineffective legal counsel. The Illinois Court of Claims gave Johnson a $61,023 reward as a result of his wrongful conviction.
    • In 1992, Demetrius Johnson was charged and convicted of first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder. He was wrongfully convicted due to mistaken witness identification and the concealment of an initial witness identification of a different suspect. In 2020, Johnson filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago over his wrongful conviction.
    • Kevin Bailey was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1990 due to a coerced confession. In 2019 Bailey filed a federal civil rights suit seeking compensation for his wrongful conviction

.

Links and a lot more in the original.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments
  1. - dan l - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    Ooooopsy. shocking that guy supporters are the FOP and proud boys would have so many questions in his background.


  2. - Super Anon - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:24 am:

    Notice that there’s only one case where the County paid out any money. That means prosecutors did nothing wrong in the other cases.


  3. - walker - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:28 am:

    The question is:

    Did O’Brien turn a blind eye to police torture that he should have seen? To many’s disgrace, he wouldn’t be alone.

    Foxx has been desperately caulking the seams on a sinking ship.


  4. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:30 am:

    ==Notice that there’s only one case where the County paid out any money. That means prosecutors did nothing wrong in the other cases.==

    lol, you must be O’Brien’s campaign manager. Or you think it doesn’t count when state taxpayers have to shell out for prosecutorial screw-ups at the county level?


  5. - Glenn - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:33 am:

    - Super Anon - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:24 am:

    See original at link.

    Researcher’s Note: The following details on Pat O’Brien’s tenure with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office
    were pulled from news archive searches. We submitted a public records request with the Cook County State’s
    Attorney’s office for O’Brien’s personnel file. The FOIA officer said the responsive records were previously
    destroyed and no longer available.


  6. - walker - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:34 am:

    To be clear, I view Foxx as the heroic figure in this sordid saga.


  7. - City Zen - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:35 am:

    Foxx can be thorough…when she wants to be.


  8. - Jocko - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:35 am:

    $64 million is chump change for what we’re paying out. I keep trying to ‘Back the Blue’, but I’m tired of the cover provided by qualified immunity.


  9. - Eloy - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:40 am:

    Let’s take a step back and wonder how we got to a place where a Cook County-wide GOP candidate has to be defended against in what’s shaping up to be the biggest Dem year in awhile.


  10. - Sox Fan - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:42 am:

    How much responsibility does a SA have for faulty “confessions”? I’m sure the police aren’t going to the SA saying “we beat a confession out of him”

    I’m guessing there’s probably some common sense that could have prevented some of these wrongful convictions which may disqualify O’brien from holding office, but does he bear responsibility for all of them?


  11. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:52 am:

    Sox Fan,

    Without more evidence I would say the prosecutor should have known. I can´t imagine a prisoner would not complain to the prosecutor that he had been tortured. The prosecutor represents the people in the trial. His job is not to secure a conviction of the wrong person for the wrong crime. That is not in the people´s interest. And if he hears a complaint by a suspect then that needs to be investigated. In a lot of cases those investigations will not find evidence, but the complaint should not be ignored out of hand.


  12. - City Guy - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:53 am:

    To Sox Fan - I’m sure there are exceptions, but my sense is typically the SAs have a good idea about faulty “confessions.” My understanding is Burge’s torture was well-known in the SA’s office back in the day. If he didn’t know, he was extremely naive and painfully (to others not him) unaware of what was going on.


  13. - TNR - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 10:54 am:

    == but I’m tired of the cover provided by qualified immunity. ==

    $64 million in payouts from a four year period? Doesn’t look like its providing too much cover.


  14. - Sox Fan - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 11:02 am:

    Thanks Cermak. I do wonder if Foxx believes POB ignored complaints of police misconduct in these cases to obtain convictions.

    And just to clarify where I stand, i voted for Foxx because I believe she truly believes criminal justice reform is needed.


  15. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 11:03 am:

    The City of Chicago alone pays out ~$100 million per year in settlements for context.


  16. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 11:22 am:

    “It is better that ten guilty men escape than one innocent man suffer.” - William Blackstone

    “It is better that ten innocent men suffer than one guilty man escape.” - Otto von Bismark

    The only reason we are considering making Otto von Bismark the Cook County State’s Attorney is because Jussie Sollett is clickbait.


  17. - Reformed Public Servant - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 11:28 am:

    Last desperate act by Foxx, who is being outspent & has no prosecutorial record of her own to run upon (well Smollett perhaps, but that’s another story). We’ll see if it sticks?


  18. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    For context the city spends about $100 million per year on lawsuits.


  19. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 11:39 am:

    IF O’Brien can be tied to Burge, et. al., he’s toast. A view from Downstate.


  20. - Father Ted - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 11:39 am:

    Between this and the ad posted yesterday, she is painting the picture of O’Brien that should help her to win.
    However, if I were an undecided Cook County voter, I would feel a lot better about voting for her if she could point to her successes and track record instead of why I shouldn’t vote for her opponent. She’s been portrayed as soft on crime and whether that’s right or wrong, I haven’t seen where she has pushed the message of why her approach is working.


  21. - Amalia - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 12:55 pm:

    @Anyone Remember, just look at the people he is around post judicial slot.


  22. - Dutch - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 12:57 pm:

    I have no take on this political race. But, in general, anytime a person is wrongfully convicted of a crime our society is much worse off.


  23. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 1:41 pm:

    == IF O’Brien can be tied to Burge, et. al., he’s toast. A view from Downstate.==

    Here’s another view from downstate: I don’t give a hoot who you elect as CC states attorney, just pick someone that won’t mess up so badly that us taxpayers outside the county have to finance their incompetence.


  24. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    === I haven’t seen where she has pushed the message of why her approach is working.===

    See Capitol Fax Aug 11

    “Foxx definitely has a different interpretation of yesterday’s widely shared Tribune story about how her office dropped lots more felony charges than her predecessor.

    State’s Attorney Foxx has secured over 2,700 more convictions related to violent felony offenses than her predecessor in the last three years of her tenure.
    These violent and most serious offenses include cases of gun violence, homicide, sex crimes, aggravated battery, violence against police officers, robbery, domestic battery, and kidnapping. These cases represent 28% of the cases prosecuted by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. The conviction rate on these cases has increased from 81% to 83% under the Foxx Administration.”

    More felony charges dropped but more convictions total. So it looks like Alverez was clogging up the courts with junk.


  25. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 3:09 pm:

    If you think prosecutors didn’t know about Burge and his ilk, let alone the other corrupt cops in the CPD, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

    Read John Conroy’s House of Screams from the Chicago Reader and their whole torture archive.


  26. - Father Ted - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 4:22 pm:

    @ Da Big Bad Wolf-
    Responding to a bad article for her- which perpetuated the ’soft on crime’ narrative against her- is one thing, but what about more recently than early August, and in the context of campaigning?


  27. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 20, 20 @ 6:29 pm:

    Under O’Brien? Except for the Roscetti case where 1 defendant testified against the other 3 and DNA technology did not yet exist, he had absolutely NOTHING to do with these other cases. She can’t help but lie everytime she opens her mouth.


  28. - Mr. Reason - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    The FACT that Pat O’Brien assisted in framing the Roscetti Four should kill the debate of why no one should be voting for him. The fact that he disrespected Lori Roscetti’s family, friends and the People of Cook County is clear who we all should be voting for.


  29. - Ms. Undecided - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 11:52 am:

    I was undecided until I learned that Patrick O’Brien lied before 3 editorial boards in regard to what he knew about “existing evidence”. Patrick O’BRIEN had a laboratory report that clearly revealed that not only was Larry Ollins a NONSECRETOR but all four were NONSECRETORS. Kim Foxx has my vote.


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