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Murder Conviction Reversed After Police Officers Resuse to Testify About Torture

The Illinois Appellate Court reversed the Circuit Court a second time, and transferred the case to a new trial judge, after two Chicago police officers refused to testify on whether the Defendant was tortured before his admission that he was present when two murders were committed in 1989.  The Defendant was convicted and sentenced to life in prison after he admitted he was present when the murders were committed.  During proceedings for post-conviction relief, the Defendant claimed his admissison was coerced when a police officer tortured him by burning him alive.  The State Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission found his torture claim to be credible, and two police officers who were present refused to testify about whether the Defendant was tortured.  The Trial Court twice refused to find that torture occurred, and failed to draw an adverse negative inference from the police officers refusal to testify.  The Appellate Court reversed both times, and transferred the case to a new trial Judge after the Second Appeal.  People v. James Gibson (Ill. App. 1st dist., March, 2019).

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