COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Two men, one convicted of rape and the other of murder, are being released from prison Tuesday after the cases against them were dropped, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said.
Charges against Latherial Boyd, found guilty of fatally shooting one person and injuring another in 1990, and Carl Chatman, who was convicted of sexual assault in 2004, were dismissed after a "re-investigation" by the state's attorney's Conviction Integrity Unit.
"Justice was certainly delayed," Alvarez said. "We are hopeful, with today's action, that it will not be denied."
In Boyd's case, nine witnesses to a shooting in the 3500 block of North Clark Street saw the defendant in a lineup but failed to identify him as the shooter. Only one of Boyd's alleged victims picked him out. That individual, struck in the back by gunfire and paralyzed, initially told police he could not identify the shooter.
"He changed his story," Alvarez said, conceding that prosecutors may have erred in pursuing the case. "I'm not so sure he would have been charged today."
Boyd, 47, was sentenced to 82 years in prison on Oct. 24, 1990.
Chatman, a 58-year-old who suffers from mental illness, was convicted of sexually assaulting a clerk in a Daley Center courtroom on May 24, 2002.
Years later, during the course of a civil trial brought by the alleged victim, officials learned of a witness who slipped by defense attorneys and prosecutors at the time of Chatman's criminal trial.
The witness was a Cook County deputy. Having arrived early to work on the day of the alleged attack, he was sleeping in a nearby room.
The alleged victim said she had cried out and fought back, but the deputy heard nothing, Alvarez said.
Alvarez said the Conviction Integrity Unit has received hundreds of inquiries and requests in the 18 months since its inception.
The two sentences vacated Tuesday mark the fourth and fifth occurrences. Other murder convictions overturned as a result of the project include those against James Kluppelberg, Alprentiss Nash and Daniel Taylor.