7 men with cases tied to disgraced CPD Detective Reynaldo Guevara seek to overturn convictions

Maher Kawash Image
Thursday, February 29, 2024
7 men seek to overturn convictions tied to disgraced CPD Det. Guevara
Seven wrongfully convicted men who had criminal cases tied to disgraced CPD Detective Reynaldo Guevara are seeking to overturn their convictions.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Seven men are chasing a new chance at freedom.

The Exoneration Project and the Loevy & Loevy law firm are representing seven individuals who were wrongfully convicted of a crime in Chicago in relation to the misconduct of former Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara and the tactics he used to get those convictions.

While the men have been out of prison for many years, they said they won't be truly free until the convictions are taken off their record.

"I'm still trying to cope with living a free life... there's things I can't do... there's places I can't go... it's a struggle," said Jayson Aguiar.

Aguiar is one of the seven men filing petition to overturn his conviction. He was released in 2000 after serving ten years for a shooting that happened in 1990.

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The men said they've made peace with the years they can't get back, but are hoping the petitions can give them actual freedom in the years ahead.

"I've always maintained my innocence... I've been out since 2010," Edwin Ortiz said. "All doors been closed on me. I tried housing... it's hard to get housing. Jobs are hard... I go from one warehouse to another."

Previous court filings have tied Detective Guevara to at least 44 other wrongful convictions.

Lawyers said those cases displayed Guevara's manipulation that included coerced confessions, faking anonymous tips and orchestrating lineups to get a conviction.

RELATED | 5 civil rights lawsuits against city name disgraced former Chicago Police Sgt. Reynaldo Guevara

Demetrius Johnson, who was released in 2004 and exonerated in 2019, stood in support of these seven men Thursday, speaking about how critical the petition is.

"Right now I'm happy and it feels like I got a monkey off my back, but it's still the trauma and people understand I'm innocent," Johnson said. "They say, 'oh he didn't do that,' and that helps because it was a cry in a dark for a long time, and you're suffering because of that."

The lawyers said they're hoping to move quickly on the cases. All seven of the men will appear separately in court on March 20.