Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly M. Foxx’s office says it is taking another look at the conviction of Jaime Hauad, a man who says Chicago police officers threatened to cut off his toes in an attempt to torture him into confessing to a 1997 double murder.
“We are committed to ensuring justice is done and to being responsive to the needs and concerns of the constituents we serve,” office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said in a Thursday afternoon statement about the review.
One of Hauad’s attorneys, Alison R. Flaum, said she is “very encouraged and grateful that the State’s Attorney’s Office has agreed to meet with us about Jaime’s case.”
“We believe that when they look at the evidence that we have collected and whatever other evidence they see fit to consider they will conclude, as we have, that Jaime Hauad is absolutely innocent,” said Flaum, the legal director of Northwestern University’s Children and Family Justice Center.
The shootings killed Jose Morales and Jason Goral, alleged members of a Northwest Side gang.
Hauad, age 17 at the time, was arrested and taken to the Area 5 police headquarters. He claims the police beat him, slapped him and, if he did not confess, threatened to cut off his toes. To make their point, he says, officers cut off the edge of his shoes using a paper cutter.
Hauad claims the officers who beat him included Joseph Miedzianowski, convicted in 2001 of racketeering and drug conspiracy and accused by federal prosecutors of corrupt activities through much of his 22-year career.
A jury in 1999 found Hauad guilty of the murders and an aggravated battery with a firearm. He was sentenced to two concurrent terms of life in prison for the murders plus 15 years for the battery.
In 2014, the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission, a state panel set up to investigate police-torture claims related to disgraced Cmdr. Jon Burge, found Hauad’s claims credible but decided it lacked jurisdiction to do much about it.
The commission referred Hauad's case to State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office, which reviewed it and stood by the conviction.
In December, an Illinois appellate court panel asked State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office to “further investigate the case and Hauad's claim that he was tortured while in police custody.”
At first, Foxx’s office resisted.
Then came Thursday’s statement, which said the office “is reviewing this case as part of a comprehensive evaluation of the office’s Conviction Integrity Unit.”
Hauad, who turns 37 on Sunday, is imprisoned in Illinois’s Pontiac Correctional Center. He is projected for discharge in 2035.