A man, who has steadfastly claimed his innocent for 20 years, may finally have a chance at justice.
Jaime Hauad, who will soon be 37, may get his case reopened by the Cook County State’s Attorney conviction integrity unit.
Hauad was accused of killing two rival gang members, Jason Goral and Jose Morales, outside a bar in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood in May 1997. He was subsequently convicted of murder and sentenced to two concurrent life term in prison, plus 15 years for an aggravated battery charge.
Although Hauad remains locked up at Pontiac Correctional Center, he has always maintained his innocence. In 2015, the man said he was forced into giving Chicago police a false alibi after they beat him up and sliced the tip of his shoes with a paper cutter.
His lawyers also submitted letters from the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago recounting how a federal witness more than decade ago gave police officers the name of the man he says committed the murder. He also sent apologetic letters to Hauad’s family.
It is also important to note that Hauad’s case was being investigated by former Chicago police detective Joseph Miedzianowski, who is serving a life sentence for drug conspiracy and who was accused of abusing suspects and fixing cases.
Then in June 2015, the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission determined that Hauad’s claim of torture was plausible and his case should be reviewed.
However, Cook County Judge J. Stanley Sacks shot down Hauad’s claim that his constitutional rights had been violated and dismissed his request to prove his innocence.
On Thursday morning, Hauad’s relatives, community leaders and activists staged a protest outside Cook County Criminal Courts building in support of Hauad.
Saints of God!...Pray for Anabel Perez and her son Jaime Hauad. Pray for their strength.— Mark A. Clements (@Prisonspeaks) February 10, 2017
Alison Flaum, Hauad’s attorney, said prosecutors contacted her several days ago to discuss the potential reinvestigation of the case.
"He has been fighting for his freedom for a crime he didn't commit," said Bertha Escamilla, a community activist.
The group also demanded Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx keep her campaign promise to review such cases on a priority basis. They also want Hauad to be free as soon as possible and would like to see the people who tortured him punished for their actions.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters/Stephane Mahe