A Cook County judge cleared the name of a man convicted of murder, giving him a future and second chance, following his conviction in a case connected to a discredited former Chicago Police Department detective.
"I always said I was innocent," Daniel Rodriguez said Monday after the judge's decision was announced. "I screamed that."
Rodriguez spent 17 years in prison, wrongfully convicted in a murder case tied to notorious former CPD detective Reynaldo Guevara, who was previously accused of coercing witnesses, beating suspects and falsifying police reports.
Dozens of men, including Rodriguez, were framed by Guevara and his detectives, and their cases are slowly working their way through the criminal courts system.
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"Imagine a situation when your own false words were used against to put you in jail for a crime you did not commit," attorney Joshua Tepfer said.
Rodriguez's daughter said on Monday she was thinking of the murder victim's family, who has now lost their sense of closure.
"For the other family that is hurting right now, we will help you no matter what," Daniella Rodriguez said.
The next step for Daniel Rodriguez is to apply for a certificate of innocence, which could take a while if the state of Illinois objects.