Martin Preib

Award-winning Writer

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Certificate of Innocence Filed by Alstory Simon...

A petition for a Certificate of Innocence has reportedly been filed by attorneys representing Alstory Simon, a man recently released from 15 years in prison by Cook County Prosecutor Anita Alvarez. 

Simon's request for the certificate is necessary to get paid for his years of being locked up for a double homicide he didn't commit. It is also clearly one more step in a process of taking legal action against those that put him in prison, including Northwestern University, former Professor David Protess, and Private Investigator Paul Ciolino. 

Simon was convicted in 1999 of a double homicide, a conviction which led to the release of Anthony Porter for the same murders. Northwestern investigators claimed Porter was innocent of the killings and obtained a bizarre--and clearly illegal-- confession from Simon. It was Simon's confession that paved the way for Porter's release. 

After a year-long review of the case, Alvarez petitioned for Simon's release, saying Northwestern investigators and an attorney they obtained for Simon, Jack Rimland, had violated Simon's constitutional rights. But the prosecutor would not state whether she believed Simon was innocent of the killings.

Alvarez also stated her investigation could find no wrongdoing by prosecutors who accepted Simon's confession, a claim that left many people familiar with the case scratching their head.

How could she see the corruption in the case, but not her predecessors?