Crooked City

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Investigator Spells Out Methods of Wrongful Conviction Activists

You won't see him quoted in many Chicago newspapers. You will not see him in many court transcripts. Few people know his name. But Jim Delorto and his partner John Mazzola are probably the best experts on the wrongful conviction movement in Cook and DuPage County.

The reason is that they have investigated the claims of these activists in the vast majority of cases. They are federal agents who opened up a private investigation firm after they retired. For the last two decades, they have painstakingly reviewed case after case in which defense attorneys claim murderers and other offenders are in fact innocent. 

One case in particular grabbed their attention: The Anthony Porter double murder in 1982. When Porter was exonerated and Alstory Simon was convicted, both men knew something rotten had taken place. Together with retired journalist Bill Crawford and Alstory Simon's lawyers, they fought to have Simon freed from prison. 

Now the Cook County State's Attorney is reviewing the case. 

Delorto's description of how the wrongful conviction cases work is disturbing and illuminating.