Reversal of a Notorious Injustice
In a case that generated significant media coverage, Sidley won the release of Demond Weston, who spent nearly 30 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Arrested at age 17, Mr. Weston was tortured by Chicago Police detectives who worked under the now-infamous police commander Jon Burge. After 26 hours of mistreatment in custody and without access to a parent or attorney, Mr. Weston signed a false confession placing him at the scene of a gang-related shooting. There was never any physical evidence tying him to any crime, and none of his co-defendants knew him, but he was convicted on an accountability theory and sentenced to 75 years. The Sidley team, with co-counsel, convinced special prosecutor Robert Milan to re-examine the case. Following a top-to-bottom re-investigation, he determined that there was not sufficient evidence to establish Mr. Weston’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and agreed that the convictions should be vacated.
Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties Project / Reversal of a Notorious Injustice