Robert Smith claims Burge detectives beat false confession out of him

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(WTTW News)

Robert Smith spent decades in prison on a wrongful murder conviction. Now, he’s suing the city and several Chicago Police Department detectives who worked under notorious Area 2 Commander Jon Burge, claiming they beat a false confession out of him.

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(WTTW News)

More than 100 convictions tied to former Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts and his team have been thrown out in recent years. “Today, we were able to bring some justice to nine people who were targeted and victimized by former Sergeant Watts,” Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said in a statement.

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(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

In all, 80 men and women, who were sentenced to 256 total years in prison across more than 100 cases tied to ex-CPD Sgt. Ronald Watts, have had their convictions dismissed over the past three years.

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(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

For the second year in a row, Illinois saw the highest number of criminal exonerations last year, and once again, that total was driven largely by false convictions tied to a corrupt former Chicago sergeant, according to a new report.

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Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx speaks with reporters following a hearing inside the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (Matt Masterson / WTTW News)

Nearly 100 felony drug convictions tied to disgraced former Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts have been tossed out since 2017. 

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(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

Geraldo Iglesias spent 16 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. Now he’s suing the city of Chicago and a disgraced former police detective who he claims set him up.

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Nearly one out of every three criminal exonerations in the U.S. last year occurred in Illinois, according to a new report. Most of those cases stemmed from disgraced former police Sgt. Ronald Watts and his crew.

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(Chicago Tonight)

Plaintiffs claim they were framed by disgraced former police Sgt. Ronald Watts and his tactical team at a South Side housing project, and that a “code of silence” allowed it to happen.

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Attorney Joel Flaxman, right, stands inside the Leighton Criminal Court Building with Jermaine Coleman, center, and Germain Sims on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Four men were exonerated of false drug convictions Wednesday, joining more than 60 others who’ve been falsely convicted and later exonerated in cases related to former Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts.

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Bill Amor (Illinois Innocence Project / Facebook)

Bill Amor spent two decades behind bars for a murder he says he didn’t commit. On Wednesday, a DuPage County judge agreed – and acquitted him in a retrial of a 1995 arson case.

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Nevest Coleman, left, stands with his attorney, Russell Ainsworth. (Chicago Tonight)

Nevest Coleman spent nearly two decades in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Now he’s suing the city of Chicago, claiming he was beaten and coerced into giving a false confession.

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Thomas Sierra, center, exits the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Tuesday. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Thomas Sierra, 41, spent more than half his life in prison, convicted of a murder he has claimed from the beginning he didn’t commit. On Tuesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped the charges. “It’s a bittersweet situation,” Sierra said.

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“It’s a brand new beginning for me,” said Leonard Gipson, one of 15 men who had drug convictions vacated by a judge Thursday. The convictions stemmed from arrests made more than a decade ago by disgraced former Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts.

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(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

According to data from the National Registry of Exonerations, Illinois has a false confession rate more than three times higher than the national average. Is there “a culture in Chicago of solving cases by confession?”

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More than 2,000 exoneration cases are on record in the U.S., according to the National Registry of Exonerations. Only a handful of people appear on that list twice, and one of them is Chicago native Dana Holland.

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(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

More than a dozen residents of the former Ida B. Wells housing project say they were framed and intimidated by a former Chicago Police Department sergeant. Now they are seeking to have their convictions overturned.