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Years of Wrongful Convictions are Costing the City of Chicago

Posted by Steve Karimi | Jun 05, 2018 | 0 Comments

Wrongful conviction lawsuits aren't anything new for the city of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department. For years, the city has been paying out settlements in cases linked to former police commander Jon Burge. While the steady stream of those cases is drying up, Chicago is now facing more accusations regarding two other tainted cops. These wrongful convictions are unfortunate proof that the police are not infallible. For many criminal defendants, that is a fact that isn't lost on them.

Wrongful Convictions and Framed Defendants

Jon Burge was infamous in Chicago, allegedly torturing over 100 African-American suspects into confessing to crimes they didn't commit. Burge terrorized Chicago's South Side from the 1970s to the 1990s and was ultimately charged with only perjury counts after the statute of limitations expired on most of his crimes. Burge was convicted in 2010 and served less than four years.

In the years that followed, Burge's acts have cost Chicago greatly. The city has paid out over $670 million since 2003, with Burge playing a role in many of those convictions. But while the lawsuits stemming from Burge's actions are slowing to a trickle, a new set of lawsuits against two other disgraced cops.

In just the two previous years, 11 men convicted of murder in Chicago have had their convictions overturned based on either police brutality or coerced confessions. That makes 18 total exonerations due to police misconduct, and there are many petitions for relief that have not yet been heard. Those are just the murder convictions; dozens of drug possession cases have also been thrown out due to officer misconduct in the last six months alone. While Chicago officials had been hopeful that the cities' dark history with wrongful convictions had been curtailed, it has become clear that is not yet the case. “I thought we had turned a corner,” according to Chicago Alderman Howard Brookins, Jr. “It looks like we have not.”

Defenses at Trial

You will likely face an uphill battle in court even when law enforcement plays by the rules. The state usually has nearly unlimited resources, in regard to both money and manpower. That makes your choice of defense attorney so critical. An experienced defense attorney can help you build the best defense possible. 

Police misconduct forms the basis of more than one common defense. One example is the collection of evidence through an unlawful search or seizure. You have rights, and if law enforcement has violated those rights, any evidence they uncover may not be used against you. Another example is false or coerced confessions. If you make a confession against your will or if the police use violence or threats to make you admit to a crime, those statements cannot be used against you.

Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested in or near Seattle, Washington, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi are ready to help you. An experienced criminal defense attorney is what stands between you and the prosecutors trying to convict you. Steve Karimi is a former prosecutor that provides his clients with a thorough, vigorous defense. Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi for your free consultation.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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If you were arrested or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Seattle or surrounding areas of Washington State, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.

Seattle Defense Lawyer

Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.