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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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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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“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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(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.

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