Did Northwestern University 'wrongful conviction' center railroad an innocent man?

That's a question that increasingly deserves more attention in the wake of yet another Chicago Sun-Times story disclosing a memo calling the entire mess the result of politics.

That follows a Sun-Times story last week that provides more evidence that an innocent man was sent to prison for a murder that increasingly appears to have been committed by a man freed through the efforts of Northwestern University's "wrongful conviction" operation. Wrote Frank Main in the Sun-Times

The former chief of criminal prosecutions for Cook County is questioning whether his boss at the time, Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine, freed a convicted killer and put an innocent man behind bars for a double murder after failing to thoroughly review key evidence, according to a sworn affidavit obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Thomas Epach Jr., a highly regarded retired prosecutor, wrote in the affidavit that Devine’s decisions were “highly unusual, if not unprecedented” in the case of Anthony Porter, who was convicted of a double murder in 1983 but whose conviction was thrown out 16 years later.

Nor should I neglect to say that Porter was released through the determined efforts of a sympathetic media and ideologically driven commentators.

Much thanks for trying to unravel this mess goes to Martin Preib, whose unremitting and detailed probing of the release of  Porter finally has paid off with some media attention. You can find his efforts in his new book Crooked City, which is described in its notes thusly:

In this second collection of connected essays, Chicago cop Martin Preib takes on seemingly unrelated murder cases, all dating from one year, 1982, including some in which offenders were released as part of the wrongful conviction movement. This book shatters reader assumptions—about the workings of justice, the objectivity of the media, and the role of the police in the city of Chicago, even calling into question allegations of police torture in the notorious cases against Jon Burge. Told in the gripping tension of a crime novel, Preib strives for the highest language as he wanders these brutal, controversial killings.

Click here to get more information on Crooked City

What was America's greatest come-from-behind war? Go here to find out.

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  • One must break a few eggs to make a quiche. Better one innocent man go up the river, in order for the Volga Boatmen of the Wrongful Industry to make millions.

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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