Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Daniel Taylor Was Innocent. He Spent Decades in Prison Trying to Fix the State’s Mistake.

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The report by Steve Mills in ProPublica has this as the blurb (emphasis added):

He was in police custody at the time of the murders, but a dubious confession led to his wrongful conviction while Chicago police and prosecutors turned a blind eye to inconvenient facts that eventually exonerated him.

Land of the free, eh? The report, well worth reading, begins:

When guards first brought Daniel Taylor into a room at the Stateville Correctional Center outside Chicago, we were strangers. It was 2001. I was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He was an inmate serving a life sentence.

He had written to me earlier. His was one of the dozen or so letters I’d get from inmates each month — each in an envelope red-stamped with a note saying they were from an inmate at the Illinois Department of Corrections, as if to warn me about their contents. But his letter stood out. He had been convicted of a 1992 double murder, he wrote, but he had records that showed he was in a police station holding cell when the murders were committed.

Even in Chicago, which was fast becoming known for its miscarriages of justice, it was stunning.

Over more than a decade, I talked with Taylor scores of times on the telephone. I visited him in prison. And with Tribune reporters Maurice Possley and Ken Armstrong, I investigated his case as part of a series of stories on false confessions, then followed it until he was exonerated in June 2013.

That it took some two decades for Taylor to be exonerated and win his release spoke to many things, but none more so than the frailties of the criminal justice system and Taylor’s fierce persistence.

Taylor had a kindness and openness I liked immediately. He was candid about his troubled childhood growing up in foster homes and shelters, about leaving school and about life on the streets. Some three months before the murders, he joined the Vice Lords street gang, largely because his friends were in it. He had been arrested a handful of times for such minor offenses as mob action and theft.

Over the years, we got to know each other better. More than anything, I came to admire his  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2022 at 5:29 pm

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