Alstory Simon is a free man. On Thursday Cook County prosecutors asked Judge Paul Biebel to vacate Simon's double murder conviction. Judge Biebel ordered the immediate release of Alstory Simon.
Simon is the second person exonerated in the double murder which occurred in 1982. Anthony Porter, who was originally convicted and sentenced to death for the murders, was exonerated.
Porter was released to great fanfare as a result of David Protess and the Medill Innocence Project (Center on Wrongful Convictions) of Northwestern University. It is alleged his students and private investigator found Simon and coerced, cajoled, and convinced him to confess.
The Anthony Porter and Alstory Simon story is long and sordid. David Protess was eventually discredited and disgraced over his actions. He left Northwestern, some say not by choice, and immediately formed his own innocence project.
David Protess is one of those people in Chicago who are too big to fail, be disgraced, discredited, or apologize for his actions. The news media loves him, activists love him, academics love him, and powerful progressives love him. He is like that purple dinosaur.
The news media is focusing keenly on three people, David Protess, Anthony Porter, and Alstory Simon.
Left out of the story, except in passing are Marilyn Green and Jerry Hillard. They are the two people who were murdered in 1982. No one is speaking for them. They have no news media cheer leaders. Academics are not coming out of the ivy to speak for them, like they did for Protess when he was discredited. Powerful progressives are silent.
They are dead. It is if they never existed. They do not count or matter in the running narrative of a train wreck which led to Thursday's decision.
Protess allegedly spoke up for the supposed wrongly convicted throughout his career. He made a name for himself and soared high. He made a name for Northwestern University. Then, it all came crashing down.
Lost in all this publicity were Marilyn Green and Jerry Hillard. No one made a name for them. No school gained renown on their account. No reporters wrote about them or mentioned them on television. Protess, Porter, and Simon got all the ink and pixels.
Who speaks for the dead? Who seeks justice for the dead? Who tells their story?
Surely not the news media, who gave Protess cover and coverage for years. Not Northwestern University which employed Protess, shared the limelight with Protess, and was disgraced and almost discredited with and by Protess. Not prosecutors, who cannot sort out the mess created by Protess, to try anyone for a three decade old murder case. They cannot even retry Anthony Porter, due to the double jeopardy rule.
Who speaks for Marilyn Green and Jerry Hillard? That is the question the news media and general public should be asking. The mess is cleaned up. Protess moved on and is doing the same thing he did at Northwestern. His image was rehabilitated. He is still considered heroic.
Anita Alvarez can wash her hands of the whole incident her predecessor created by jumping the gun in releasing Anthony Porter. The cops and detectives who handled the murders are probably retired.
The names Anthony Porter, Alstory Simeon, and especially David Protess will be writ large in Chicago's crime and media history.
Marilyn Green and Jerry Hillard will be lucky if they get a fine print footnote.
Justice is supposed to be blind.
Justice blindsided Marilyn Green and Jerry Hillard.
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