Another Conviction Tied To Corrupt Sergeant Thrown Out | WBEZ
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Another Conviction Tied To Corrupt Sergeant Thrown Out

A judge on Wednesday threw out another conviction tied to former Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts.

Cook County Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. vacated the 2006 conviction on drug charges of Lionel White, who spent more than two years behind bars after his arrest by a Watts-led team.

Officers who have investigated that team have described corruption allegations spanning more than a decade.

Watts and an officer under him were arrested in 2012 for stealing drug money from what turned out to be an FBI informant. Both served federal prison sentences of less than two years.

This year, judges tossed out convictions against Ben Baker and his wife Clarissa Glenn, both arrested on drug charges by Watts’ crew. Baker had spent almost a decade in prison after his arrest.

On Wednesday, a court filing from State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office said prosecutors agreed that White’s conviction should be overturned as well. The filing did not mention the cases of Baker or Glenn but cited unspecified “newly discovered evidence.”

White’s attorney, Joshua Tepfer, said the Watts crew “beat him and framed him.”

Tepfer is among civil-rights advocates asking the court to appoint an investigator with subpoena powers to identify wrongful convictions linked to Watts.

Last week both Foxx’s office and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration said they do not oppose that request.

Tepfer is also calling for investigation of former Watts associates still on duty as Chicago cops.

Chip Mitchell reports out of WBEZ’s West Side studio. Follow him at @ChipMitchell1.

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