Landmark cases

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Judge and Mrs. Pincham

State of Illinois Supreme Court Attorney Certificate. June 18, 1951.

Selected cases which many would think of as landmark include those below. Popular cases with clear outcomes for the process of justice are not necessarily the technically important cases that lay foundations. We include some that are well-known nationally and in Chicago.

The case of Ryan Harris

The many turns in this story kept the city edgy and rattled.

Police at first secured confessions and contended that two boys, seven and eight years old, sexually molested and killed an eleven year old girl, Ryan Harris. Ryan was visiting from the south suburbs, the police said, and the boys, wanting her bicycle, stuffed her panties in her mouth, grass in one nostril, and leaves in another.

Semen, improbable from these boys, was later discovered and attributed to a local 29-year old convicted sexual molestor. He contended that he was innocent of the killing, but performed sexual acts on the fresh corpse, and had watched the boys.

The way in which the police handled this sensational case, especially by refusing to arrest the 29-year old, embittered and angered the Englewood community, historically distrustful of police.

R. Eugene Pincham represented one of the two boys, both finally exonerated.

Belluck, Pam. (1998, September 26). Boy’s Release In a Murder Doesn’t End A City’s Pain. The New York Times, 8. New York, NY.
Spielman, S. P. F. (2005, September 19). $6.2 MIL. SETTLEMENT IN RYAN HARRIS CASE // Boy was wrongfully accused of slaying. Chicago Sun-Times (IL), 1.
The case of Steven Shores

In 1984 an innocent Steven Shores was convicted of killing security guard Garrison Hester two years earlier based on the testimony of two who later were judged to be the perpetrators. His release was scheduled in 2019!

Steven Shores was finally released from prison when the alternate southside Chicago suspects, members of the El Rukn’ gang, were convicted instead.

Evidence derived from a federal investigation allowed the persistent Shores to convince – after several appeals – the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to drop the case. Steven Shores did not admit guilt, but acknowledged that enough evidence existed to make a verdict of guilt likely in a different matter.

Joliet Inmate Has Believers In His Corner – Chicago Tribune. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2011, from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-03-23/news/9001240367_1_rukn-members-rukn-street-gang-conviction
Steven Shores, Center on Wrongful Convictions. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2011, from http://www.law.northwestern.edu/wrongfulconvictions/exonerations/ilShoresSummary.html