For the first time in 17 years, Alprentiss Nash will be a free man. He was previously serving an 80-year sentence for the robbery and murder of a South Side man. Now, at age 37, prosecutors have announced that the charges against Nash will be dropped and he will be released, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Why the change of heart? Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez launched a new unit focused solely on re-examining questionable convictions. The new Conviction Integrity Unit, established in February, reviews these types of cases for possible false convictions.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the evidence that set Nash free was comprised of skin cells on a ski mask left behind at the crime scene. Prosecutors initially resisted a DNA test for the skin cells, but the Illinois Appellate Court ordered the test. The DNA matched that of a convict who had recently been paroled after a drug conviction. The State’s Attorney then joined the defense counsel in approving additional testing.
The Conviction Integrity Unit of the State’s Attorney’s Office is a six-person unit, consisting of three prosecutors, two investigators, and one victim-witness specialist. Many of the cases that they investigate date back to the days when DNA testing was primitive.
The hope, according to the Sun-Times, is that lessons from mistakes of the past will not only help to overturn wrongful convictions, but also lead to fewer wrongful convictions in the future. Younger prosecutors will know what to look for when there are questions about whether the right person was charged with an offense.
As Alvarez told the Sun-Times back in March, “In my view, my job is not just about racking up convictions, it’s about always seeking justice, even if that measure of justice means that we must acknowledge mistakes of the past.”
- Consult a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney (FindLaw)
- Exonerated: Kluppelberg Released After 24 Years for Deadly Arson (FindLaw’s Chicago Criminal Law Blog)
- Brian Banks Exonerated … What Does it Mean? (FindLaw’s Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog)
- DNA Evidence Linking Johnny Douglas to Murder May Exonerate Four (FindLaw’s Chicago Criminal Law Blog)
Read more here:
Exonerated: Alprentiss Nash’s Murder Conviction Overturned