Appeals court considering Rivera's 3rd conviction

August 22, 2011

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An appeals court in Illinois is deciding whether to overturn a jury's verdict in the case of an 11-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Waukegan, Illinois in 1992. Juan Rivera has been convicted of the crime in three separate trials. His most recent trial was granted after new DNA technology showed that the DNA from semen on a vaginal swab taken from the 11-year-old victim did not belong to him.

Lake County Illinois prosecutors pushed the case against Rivera anyway because Rivera gave a confession in the 1990s.

Larry Marshall argued Monday for Rivera's appeal. 

"This case says, 'well if there is a confession, then that means he's guilty and yeah, we can't really explain away the DNA but we know there's a confession so we know he's guilty.'  That is completely backwards," he said.

Marshall is asking the appeals court to throw out the jury's verdict and either release Rivera or grant him another trial.  Marshall told the court that quote, "pictures of a dead 11-year-old can blind juries," and he said the appeals court exists to provide sober review.