The past week saw a number of hugely significant exonerations in Chicago, including that of Christopher Abernathy, whose release after nearly 20 years in prison can be credited to both Northwestern students and the Illinois Innocence Project and their staunch advocacy for his innocence. On Wednesday, following six months of DNA testing, Cook County’s Conviction Integrity United submitted motions to have his convictions vacated, which were then granted, leading to his release. You can read more about Abernathy’s story here.
Earlier in the week, nearly a month after outgoing Governor Quinn commuted his sentence, prosecutors set aside the convictions of Tyrone Hood and Wayne Washington, Jr. Hood and Washington were sentenced on the basis of false confessions, and although Washington was released on parole in 2007, his conviction remained on his record. Thanks to the efforts of a variety of parties, including Loevy & Loevy, the University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project, and a much-needed push from The New Yorker, Hood and Washington are both free men and free of the stain of a wrongful conviction.