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Appeals Court Tosses Conviction In Controversial '92 Murder Case

Publication Date: 
December 12, 2011
Source: 
Chicago Tribune
Author: 
Steve Mills and Cynthia Dizikes

Professor and Director of the Mills Legal Clinic, Larry Marshall, spoke with Steve Mills and Cynthia Dizikes of the Chicago Tribune on an Illinois Appellate Court's decision to overturn the murder conviction of his client in People v. Rivera.

In taking the rare step of throwing out Juan Rivera's murder conviction and barring prosecutors from taking him to trial again, the Illinois Appellate Court delivered a withering condemnation to a Lake County criminal justice system already under fire for its handling of high-profile cases.

In a 24-page ruling, the appeals court corrected what it considered a grave injustice in the controversial case of Rivera, who, at three contentious jury trials during the past two decades, was convicted and given life sentences for the 1992 sexual assault and stabbing murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker.

...

The ruling was also hailed by Lawrence Marshall, a founder of the Center on Wrongful Convictions and the attorney who argued the appeal before the court. Marshall is now is an associate dean at Stanford University law school.