Monday, May 8, 2006
The blockbuster the media refuses to cover
(Porter, left, and Simon)
The gatekeepers in the Chicago media establishment don't want to let this one in.
Newly emerging evidence shows that the Anthony Porter exoneration that launched the Illinois death penalty moratorium may have been a fraud.
The same people who were lionized by the news media for sparing Anthony Porter from the death penalty in 1999 framed an innocent man along the way, an explosive court filing alleges.
The Porter exoneration in 1999 was a national story, even used last year by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy when he grilled Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. So if the exoneration is a fraud, that's a big story, too, right?
Not to the Chicago media, though, which is giving this emerging blockbuster story the silent treatment (with a few notable exceptions).
Paul Meincke of ABC-7, perhaps the most respected TV reporter in Chicago, has done several stories, including an interview with the man who may have been framed. His stories are here and here. Most other Chicago TV stations have run at least one story in response to a press conference.
The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, the papers that have done thousands of stories about potential miscarriages of justice in our criminal justice system? Here's the scorecard on the Porter exoneration fraud story:
TRIBUNE -- 4 short stories averaging 366 words, or about 10 paragraphs. And columnist Eric Zorn has written about the case twice largely to discredit the motives of the attorneys bringing the case, although he never once attacked the motives of any of the cast of characters who advocated on behalf of the dozens of other cases Eric has written about.
SUN-TIMES -- Not a single word.
I'll say up front that I do not know who shot and killed Jerry Hillard and Marilyn Green on Chicago southeast side in 1982. But I was a reporter and editor for 15 years and I know a good story when I see one. For anyone interested in following this saga in the weeks ahead, I strongly urge you to read the post-conviction petition filed by Alstory Simon in Cook County Circuit Court. He is seeking a hearing based on all the new evidence.
The petition is here.
There are many facts in this case or any other. Here are a few that stand out:
--No physical evidence has ever existed against Alstory Simon.
--The two witnesses who implicated him years after the crime have recanted.
--Nobody can place Simon near the scene of the crime near the time of the murders.
--Several people place Porter at the scene at the time of the murders.
--Simon's "confession" that he since has recanted was miraculously obtained by flamboyant private investigator Paul Ciolino, who said in an interview, "we bull rushed him." Ciolino then immediately arranged that Simon be represented by his friend, attorney Jack Rimland. During the time Rimland was representing Simon, he gave Ciolino and Northwestern journalism professor David Protess an award for uncovering evidence against his client!
--A respected minister in Milwaukee has come forward and sworn that Simon told him his confession was false in 1999.
I'll have much more about the central figures in this case in future posts and my motivation in looking into it.