He was a teenager when prosecutors in Lake County, Illinois arrested him as a suspect in the rape and murder of an 11 year old girl. He was held and questioned for several days. After the third day of questioning, jail doctors diagnosed him as having suffered a psychotic break. He was hog tied and placed in a padded cell. After he was let out of the padded cell, he signed a confession prepared for him by the police in English, despite the fact that English was his second language and he had demonstrated difficulty reading and writing it. Some of the evidence to be used at trial included the DNA from the victim's body, which prosecutors argued matched Rivera, and a pair of Rivera's shoes that reportedly had the victim's blood on it. The shoes were never introduced at trial after Rivera's defense counsel disclosed that he planned to call an expert who would testify that those shoes weren't available for sale in the US until 3 months after the murder.
Rivera was tried for these crimes 3 times. I am unsure what happened with the first two - I assume hung juries or mistrials. Before the third trial, the DNA from the semen found on the victim's body was tested again using the newest technology - and Rivera wasn't a match. Yet, prosecutors proceeded with the trial, arguing that the 11 year-old girl was sexually active and this semen came from a consensual sexual partner. Rivera was convicted.
Twenty years after he was first incarcerated, Rivera was released after an appellate court found that he was wrongfully convicted. He is now suing Lake County.
I wanted to share this story, which I read about for the first time today, because it is appalling and because it is another example of the oppression of people of color in American justice systems.
PS I will be away from GT for the next few hours so I may not respond to comments.