Chicago Police

Cook County Judge Throws Out 40th Wrongful Conviction Related to Former CPD Detective

Richard Kwil spent nearly 24 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit

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A Cook County judge on Thursday reversed a murder conviction from 23 years ago, tossing out a ruling that kept Richard Kwil behind bars for more than half his life.

It is the latest overturned conviction in a long list related to the acitons former Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara.

Kwil, now 43, was convicted for the 1999 murder of Roberto Cruz. He was incarcerated at 19, leaving behind a daughter who was just two years old.

"The system really screwed up here," said Josh Tepfer, one of Kwil's attorneys.

Attorneys for the Chicago-based Exoneration Project said 40 convictions that Guevara helped secure have now been overturned. Kwil's co-defendant was exonerated in August 2022.

Guevara has been accused for forcing confessions, manipulating lineups and intimidating witnesses.

He retired in 2005, but has never been charged with a crime. The City of Chicago has paid millions of dollars to settle misconduct claims for his actions.

"It's a tragedy for the communities," said Anand Swaminathan, another Kwil attorneys. "It's a tragedy for the family of these men. It's a tragedy for the victims."

Kwil's attorney said that Kwil is a gifted artist.

"Kwil is a painter," said Swaminathan. "He talked about some of the artwork he's done in the prisons and that he'll leave behind in the prisons."

Kwil was expected to be released to Pontiac Correctional Center on Thursday afternoon. His attorney said he was anxious and excited to get his life back.

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