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Jacques Rivera Exonerated

Center on Wrongful Convictions won exoneration of man convicted of murder 21 years ago

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October 4, 2011
The Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC) at the Northwestern University School of Law won the exoneration of Jacques Rivera, who was convicted of a gang-related murder 21 years ago in Chicago and sentenced to 80 years in prison.

The conviction rested solely on the testimony of a 12-year-old eyewitness, who recanted his testimony to CWC assistant director Jennifer Linzer and investigator Cynthia Estes. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped the charges at a bond hearing before Circuit Court Judge Neera Walsh, who last month deemed the recantation of the prosecution’s star witness credible.

Rivera’s exoneration is the 70th Cook County exoneration since the CWC began tracking such cases in 1989. Rivera will be released today (Oct. 4).

CWC senior staff attorney Jane Raley represents Rivera. Six Northwestern law students also worked on the case.