Charges Dropped in Conviction Based on Questionable Confessions

Breaking: This morning Cook County (IL) prosecutors reversed themselves and set aside the murder conviction and life sentence of Deon Patrick, 42, who has served more than half his life in prison following his conviction in a double murder case. The accuracy of the convictions of Patrick and others was clouded by questionable confessions.

Patrick was one of eight persons charged with the 1992 murders of Jeffrey Lassiter and Sharon Haugabook. Five were convicted after all made confessions that cross-implicated one another.

The Chicago Tribune (here) and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Law have confirmed this update in the long-contested case. Patrick is expected to be released this afternoon.

Co-defendant Daniel Taylor was also exonerated and released last June.

Patrick said he signed a confession after 30 hours of questioning by police, and after losing hope that anyone would believe his innocence. His confession conflicted sharply with Daniel Taylor’s confession. Taylor’s confession was problematic because he was in jail for a short time the day of the crime—including the hours in which the crime occurred.

Another imprisoned inmate, Dennis Mixon, has said that he committed the crime with others, but these did not include Taylor, Patrick, and others arrested in the case.

State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez had utilized her Conviction Integrity Unit to conduct a comprehensive review of the case and had recently determined not to drop the charges against Patrick, until reversing this decision today.

Rob Warden, Executive Director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Law, noted that Patrick is the first Illinois exoneration of 2014, and acknowledged Patrick’s attorney, Stuart Chanen, a partner of the Valorem Law Group and a member of the Advisory Board of the Center on Wrongful Convictions.

4 responses to “Charges Dropped in Conviction Based on Questionable Confessions

  1. Docile Jim Brady – Columbus OH 43209

    “Patrick said he signed a confession after 30 hours of questioning by police …”

    I could have obtained a confession from him in 1610 minutes and from the police for the same crime , within 72 hours of INTENSE questioning ; the latter would probably jeopardize my Kind Soul status ☺ .

  2. I am always glad when I see or hear about an innocent person finally getting a false conviction overturned and regaining their freedom. Obviously there is something wrong with the way the ‘justice system’ works in this nation. The question is; Is there anything that can be done that will actually make a change. How different is it from Nazi Germany to be snatched from your life and loved ones, only to be charged and convicted of a crime you didn’t do? This is a horrific ordeal to go through, but it seems to be downplayed in society at large, or even swept from view. No one wants to believe that our system of justice has a cancer festering inside it.

  3. My daughter just gave a friend a ride they get pulled over he has drugs in his socks. There was nothing in her car or on her. She had a great job cooking for the elderly she lost her job because they made her sign paperwork and she signed something she should of never signed and the police made her take a lesser charge of a small amt of marijuana when she had nothing on her anywhere just because she was being nice. Nice girls finish last also. I wish the law would be changed and the police have to be videotaped on their every actions since we allow them that much power I think it goes to some of their heads. Please listen government please

  4. How does one go about getting rid of the depression and post traumatic stress disorder that comes with what the police did to my mind and body. I go to therapy and Dr.s for a long time but it doesn’t go away there is always a trigger that brings it all back its a vicious cycle. It touched my families lives. Me it is a constant nightmare and physical pain in my back where the two police officers put their knees in my back with all there weight and pressure I quess you would say gravity didn’t help.either. who fires them for misconduct and excessive force?

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