Little Late Now, Frank, isn't it?
You have to feel sorry for Sun Times reporter Frank Main. Decades after the evidence first emerged that the wrongful conviction activists in Chicago were running an elaborate scam, Main is finally catching on.
For the first time, Main and the financially floundering Sun Times are seeing there is something fishy about these exonerations. Main writes, for example, about Simon City Royal gang member who got out of a murder pinch through the help of Northwestern University.
And guess what, the gang member, Thaddeus Jimenez, is not such an innocent victim after all.
But videos posted on YouTube show a continuing connection with the gangsta lifestyle. In one recent video, a group of young men are flashing gang signs and shouting gang slogans at the corner of Albany and School on the Northwest Side. Then, Jimenez appears, also flashing gang signs, and, apparently referring to the Royals gang, saying: “I told you n – - – -, Royal love, we got this s – - -. Albany and School for life, my n – - – -. Psycho killer, Royal crazy, n – - – -.” The video has gotten more than 20,000 views.
Even after getting the murder conviction overturned, Jimenez has continued to face troubles with the law. In 2010, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in jail for threatening a cop who asked him to move his vehicle. The officer was trying to reach a heart-attack victim on the Jane Addams Tollway, records show.
And the case by wrongful conviction lawyers that claimed another guy named Torres committed the murders?
The following year, Torres went on trial for first-degree murder in Morro’s death. Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas Gainer Jr. found that key witnesses against Torres had lied — including Tueffel, who, according to court records, was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and drug addiction.
“I don’t believe a word that he said when he testified here,” Gainer said, according to a transcript of the 2013 trial.
Gainer also found other evidence against Torres unreliable, including an audio recording purported to be of Torres confessing. He found Torres not guilty.
Go figure. A wrongful conviction theory falls apart in a trial. Who would have thought?
Absent from Main's article is the vast evidence that his paper did not dig up about the wrongful conviction conspiracy under David Protess in the Anthony Porter case. That evidence came from anywhere but the Sun Times and their competitor, the Chicago Tribune.
But shouldn't the pattern of abuses in wrongful conviction cases finally be stated by some media outlet? Shouldn't the papers be tying them together, just as they dive into the records of cops accused of corruption?
Apparently not. Here it is 2015 and the media has refused to do so.
Instead, we get the tepid, halting, and vague article suggesting there just might be larger irregularities in a single wrongful conviction case.
But Frank and the editors at the Sun Times are making progress. You have to give them that. Perhaps in 30 more years they will able to connect the dots in a meaningful way and we'll finally know the magnitude of corruption in the wrongful conviction movement.
Of course, by then it won't be journalism.
It will be ancient history.