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  • Marcus L. Schantz

A Lazy Detective and an Innocent Man Arrested

I once in Chicago represented a young man arrested and charged with murder. The murder happened after a failed car jacking in the south side neighborhood of Gage Park.The entire case was a police fabrication and I knew it. How did I know? As soon as I shook my client's hand I knew he wasn't a killer. When you're around criminals every day, you learn to easily spot the violent ones; there's an unmistakable hardness to them and their eyes are somehow darker. This young man, my new client, would go out his way to not step on a bug and there he was facing a murder charge and perhaps 60 years in prison. It was a serious situation.


I fast-tracked the case and got it ready for trial in seven months, which is uncommonly fast for a murder case; two years was probably average.


Through my investigation I uncovered indisputable evidence that proved the case was bogus. I gave the prosecutor that evidence the week before trial. A few days later he called me to say he was dismissing the case. Had the case not been dismissed the Chicago police department was going to get put on trial, and the media definitely would have picked up the story. This is why the case was dismissed: to avoid an embarrassment that would have involved the police superintendent and the mayor.


So, my client went home but after spending seven months in the Cook County jail. That's a win for a defense attorney but my client lost over half a year sitting in jail because a lazy Chicago police detective wanted to close the case the night it was assigned to him.

Did anyone get in trouble? Was there an internal affairs investigation? Did my client get an apology. No, nothing happened, because that kind of stuff happened all the time in Chicago (one of the many reasons I left). My client was fortunate there was exculpatory evidence and that I found it, because he might have been convicted at trial with false evidence, as were two other unfortunate clients who are both innocent and in prison for life.


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