After serving 22 years in prison for a double murder he did not commit, Roberto Almodovar was released on Friday, April 14 after a final formal hearing. Two days earlier, Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx’s office released a statement withdrawing opposition to a retrial of Almodovar and William Negron, who was also falsely convicted in 1995 of the drive-by murder.
The detective responsible for Negron’s and Almodovar’s arrest, Reynaldo Guevara, has been accused by Chicago residents since the 1980s “of police misconduct — alleging he beat suspects, coerced testimony and even framed innocent people,” according to Business Insider. Last week, Buzzfeed News reported that at least 51 people have come forward to frame him of false murder accusations. During his hearing in 2013, Guevara repeatedly plead the Fifth Amendment when faced with these accusations.
In 2013, the city of Chicago ordered an investigation into the accusations against Guevara. In 2015, the findings of the investigation showed that Almodovar, along with three other men Guevara accused, were most likely innocent. Two of these men, Armando Serrano and Jose Montanez, served 23 years in prison before Cook County prosecutors dropped charges against them in 2016. Another victim of Guevara, Juan Johnson, received $21 million from the City of Chicago and $15,000 from Guevara himself after spending 11 years in jail due to another faulty conviction.
The Chicago Police Department has a long standing reputation of corruption. In 2012, 60 Minutes produced a segment called “Chicago: The False Confession Capital,” which told the stories of several Chicago residents being coerced into confessions for violent crimes. In January 2017, the Department of Justice released a report accusing CPD of “a pattern or practice of unconstitutional use of force,” saying that it “does not provide officers with sufficient direction, supervision, or support to ensure lawful and effective policing.”
Negron remains imprisoned due to a different murder conviction from when he was a juvenile. According to the Chicago Reporter, the Exoneration Project — a legal clinic at the University of Chicago — will move for his conviction to be dismissed.