Roberto Almodovar, 40, Robert Bouto, 39, Jose Montanez, 48, and Armando Serrano, 43,
This is a tough story to wrap your mind around, so let's try to break it down in the simplest way possible. It's a tragic mess of injustice of the highest magnitude.
Four Latino men from Chicago are serving sentences of 45 years to life for three different crimes committed 20 or more years ago.
Roberto Almodovar, now 40 years old, was convicted 21 years ago, when he was 19, for killing two different people in Chicago.
Robert Bouto, now 39 years old, was convicted 22 years ago, when he was just 17, of killing a popular 15-year-old boy.
Armando Serrano, 43, and Jose Montanez, 48, were convicted 22 years ago, when they were 21 and 22, of killing a 27-year-old man.
For decades, each of these men have proclaimed their complete innocence. A major investigation commissioned by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel was launched into these cases and others. The results determined that all four of these men are very likely completely innocent of the crimes they were convicted for.
This would seem to be an enormous—albeit tragic—victory. Exhaustively thorough reports were leaked to Buzzfeed detailing each investigation and the final conclusions that these men were framed for murders they didn't commit.
It is preposterous, until you learn who was refusing to reopen their cases or vacate their sentences. Then it all makes sense.
Anita Alvarez may be the worst, most corrupt prosecutor in America. The Washington Post's Radley Balko agreed. Read on.
On three different occasions, I put her awful record on blast here, here, and here.
It has long been my belief that she deliberately bungled the case against Chicago Police Officer Dante Servin, who murdered Rekia Boyd in cold blood.
Now, in spite of hundreds and hundreds of pages from a government-sponsored investigation declaring that these four men were wrongfully convicted and have spent decades of their life in jail and have decades more to go, Anita Alvarez openly said she doesn't give a shit.
Despite its findings, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office will not reopen any of the men’s cases. In a written statement to BuzzFeed News, Sally Daly, the director of communications, said that the report “made credibility determinations that are contrary to the opinions of the Office of the State’s Attorney, contrary to those made by the triers of fact in each of these cases, and contrary to those made by the Judges that have presided over these cases for decades.” She continued, “[W]e have no new credible evidence or information to suggest that these convictions should be vacated.”
Former U.S. attorney Scott Lassar led the independent investigation that was commissioned by Rahm Emmanuel, and found one single man was the dependent variable in each case: A retired Chicago Police detective named Reynaldo Guevara.
For more than three decades, residents of Chicago’s predominantly Latino Humboldt Park neighborhood have alleged that Guevara manipulated lineups and witnesses, beat suspects, coerced confessions, and purposely mistranslated statements from witnesses and suspects in order to frame at least 40 people.
Consequently, in the cases against Almodovar, Bouto, Montanez, and Serrano, the independent investigation found that no forensic evidence pointed to these men being guilty, that incredibly shady lifelong criminals were given lenient sentences to claim they heard the men professing their guilt, and that the men each had a reliable alibi for where they were when the crimes were actually committed.
In the individual reports for each man, the conclusions went like this:
In the case of Almodovar, who was 19 when, 21 years ago, police arrested him for the fatal shooting of two people, the report concludes, “[I]t is more likely than not that he is in fact innocent of the murders for which he was convicted.”
Investigators in the case of Serrano and Montanez ended their 58-page summary of findings by writing, “Looking at all the evidence, we conclude that Montanez and Serrano are more likely than not actually innocent.”
In their 44-page analysis of the Bouto case, investigators write, “[W]e find it more likely than not that someone other than Robert Bouto shot and killed Salvador Ruvalcaba.”
What in the hell was the purpose of the city of Chicago commissioning these investigations if their findings were going to be summarily ignored by Anita Alvarez and her team? Furthermore, how fucking flagrant is it for her to dismiss hundreds of pages of investigative reports that took months to complete, when these four men have spent their entire adult lives in prison for crimes that the highly experienced and respected independent investigator concluded they didn't commit?
Beyond the obvious fact that Anita Alvarez needs not be in office, these men must immediately have their cases reopened.