A woman charged with the double homicide in Humboldt Park, who pleaded guilty and served 17 years before being acquitted, is suing the city and several detectives.
In 1993, Madeline Mendoza pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in connection with the West Side shootings of Jimmy Cruz and Hector Reyes the previous year. She was sentenced to her 35-year sentence, but she served 17 years until her release in 2009.
Her case was investigated by a disgraced ex-police officer, Detz. Reinaldo Guevara and Ernest Halvorsen.
Mendoza challenged her conviction after learning that the wrongfully convicted individual’s lawyers had uncovered repeated misconduct by two detectives. Her lawyers alleged that Guevara and Halvorsen fabricated Mendoza’s involvement in the case.
Cook County, January The judge overturned Mendoza’s conviction. She was one of dozens of people convicted of murders investigated by Guevara, whose convictions were overturned due to allegations that Guevara had corrupted the defendants.
A civil lawsuit was filed last week and names the City of Chicago, Guevara, and other detectives involved in the case. I am seeking unspecified damages.
“Defendants Guevara and Halvorsen conspired, cooperated and agreed to fabricate a false story that Plaintiff participated in the murder,” the lawsuit states. It also alleges that detectives lied on police reports prepared.
The complaint also accuses the police department of failing to discipline officers and instilling in them the belief that they can absolve themselves of wrongdoing.
As a direct and proximate consequence of the Chicago Police Department’s inadequate policies and practices regarding the discipline, supervision, and management of officers, and the failure of policy makers to address these issues, individual officer defendants Engaged in fraud.
The lawsuit also alleges that the police department maintains a “code of silence” and that officers are trained at the academy not to break that code.
“This ‘law of silence’ meant that the defendant’s individual officers had been horrified over the years because they knew their fellow officers would cover them and help cover up their widespread misconduct.” Facilitated, encouraged, or made it possible to engage in fraudulent activities.
Guevara, who retired in 2006, refused to answer questions under oath regarding his investigation.
https://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/2023/4/23/23695272/woman-whose-murder-convictions-were-overturned-sues-city-chicago-police-detectives Woman whose murder conviction was overturned sue Chicago city and Chicago police detectives