2 wrongfully convicted immigrants face uncertain future

Gabriel Solache and Arturo DeLeon-Reyes were forced to confess to a murder they didn’t commit by detectives who beat them. They were exonerated in December. Now the government wants to deport them.

Freedom was short-lived for two Mexican immigrants recently released after nearly 20 years in an Illinois prison when a judge ruled their confessions in a gruesome double-murder case were likely coerced.

Gabriel Solache and Arturo DeLeon-Reyes, who were freed in December, were immediately detained again. This time they’re awaiting deportation proceedings from Immigration and Customs Enforcement because they entered the country illegally.
They are among several defendants who have walked free because their cases were handled by Reynaldo Guevara, a discredited former Chicago detective facing allegations that for years he beat and bullied defendants to obtain false confessions.
DeLeon-Reyes’ attorney said he’s not sure he even made it past the fence outside the jail.

“But I do know he did see the sunshine without handcuffs on and could see a park and all of those were a first for him in a really long time,” said Andrew Vail, a Jenner and Block attorney who worked on the case for free.

DeLeon-Reyes and Solache’s release adds a chapter to what has become one of the most troubling stories of the Chicago Police Department in recent history. The allegations of Guevara’s brutality last year led to five overturned convictions. In previous years there have been other cases. One resulted in a 2009 jury award of $21 million — the largest award in a wrongful conviction judgment at the time — to a man who spent 11 years in prison before his conviction was overturned.

Guevara has repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent when he’s been called to respond to defendants’ allegations in several cases. He did the same late last year at a hearing for Solache and DeLeon-Reyes, but this time prosecutors granted him immunity hoping his testimony would keep their convictions intact.

But Guevara’s answer to every question was read more here…

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