A 37-year-old Chicago man was ordered released from prison Thursday after a finding by a state commission that there was credible evidence he had been tortured by Chicago Police.
Jaime Hauad was jailed in 1997 for the double murder of members of the Maniac Latin Disciples street gang, in a violent shooting on the Northwest Side where a third man was critically wounded.
Hauad drew two life sentences. But the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission found there was “sufficient evidence of torture to merit judicial review” in the case. And in court Thursday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office asked Judge William Gamboney to re-sentence Hauad to the 21 years he had already served behind bars.
The decision does not find that Hauad was wrongly convicted, or that he did not commit the crimes---only that the evidence of torture at the hands of police was sufficient to send his case back to court.
“We had enough concerns that we felt a new sentence was appropriate,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Eric Sussman. “We made a decision jointly (with Hauad’s lawyers) that this was the best outcome.”
After his trial, in a petition to the torture commission, Hauad raised complaints that he had been beaten by officers, with his feet placed in an industrial paper cutter where officers threatened to cut off his toes. Photos taken at the time show his gym shoes with the tips severed.
He did not confess, and in fact officials said his alibi statements at the time proved to be untrue. But his lawyer said her next step will be an attempt to prove that he did not commit the murders.
“Mr. Hauad also has a longstanding claim of innocence which was not the subject of today’s hearing, but is never far from our minds,” said his attorney, Alison Flaum. “Right now we just want to have him reunited with his family.”
After court, Hauad’s mother expressed relief that her son would soon be coming home.
“It’s way overdue---I’m just looking forward to having him home and a normal life,” she said. “I’m grateful to God---God first!”