In 1988, 16 year old Felix Valentin was shot in his car in an alley on the West Side of Chicago. Before slipping into a coma and eventually death, he was able to identify his shooter and the getaway driver, 2 members of the Imperial Gangsters. An 11 year old eyewitness named Orlando Lopez initially identified Jacques Rivera, a member of the Latin Kings. Shortly after, Lopez realized his mistake, but Detective Reynaldo Guevara would not listen. Guevara claimed that the victim had identified Jacques as well, and the juvenile witness went along with it. Jacques went to a bench trial in front of Judge Michael Close who had recently been a focus of Operation Greylord, one of the biggest judicial corruption investigations in US history. Judge Close would not admit the victim's initial ID's as evidence, and Jacques was sentenced to 80 years. 23 years later, the Center on Wrongful Convictions eventually unearthed the reluctant witness, who greeted them with relief, saying that he’d been waiting to tell the truth. Detective Guevara's corruption has cost the citizens of Chicago over 50 million dollars so far, in addition to the freedom of over 20 innocent men and women.
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Wrongful Conviction is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1.