A Wrongfully Convicted Man Who Spent 20 Years In Prison Was Freed But Then Immediately Taken Into ICE Custody

Getty Image

While Trump perseveres in attempting to fund and build that border Wall, his administration’s incarnation of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues its own aggressive maneuvers. Due to convenient motel arrests and other tactics, the federal law enforcement agency’s tactics are questioned by many. Now, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that a wrongfully convicted man (previously a lawful permanent resident) who spent 20 behind bars was freed on Wednesday, only to be immediately taken into ICE custody.

Ricardo Rodriguez left prison after the Cook County state’s attorney vacated the murder conviction (for the 1995 death of a homeless man) against him. All along, his attorneys maintained his innocence while arguing that he’d been framed by a now-retired police detective, Reynaldo Guevara, whose alleged coercion of witnesses has resulted in the overturning of 10 cases. Rodriguez would have been a free man, but when he was convicted, he lost his U.S. lawful permanent resident status. His family fears that he’ll soon be deported:

Rodriguez was brought to America as a child and his family is all here, according to his sister, Maria Rodriguez-Lopez. She said the family has “a really big fear” that Rodriguez will be removed from the country.

“It would be a very big injustice for them to do that to not only my mother, but my family, who have tried so hard to prove his innocence all these years,” Rodriguez-Lopez said.

The New York Times notes that the case’s prosecutors vacated the conviction because a witness came forward to admit being manipulated by Detective Guevara, who showed him a photo of Rodriguez when the witness couldn’t physically identify a suspect. Even before the witness amended his statement, there was never sufficient evidence to tie Rodriguez to the murder.

Immigration attorneys who spoke with the Chicago Tribune believe that Rodriguez’s case could set a new precedent if he is deported. Considering that he was previously convicted twice for cannabis possession, Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who is both anti-marijuana and anti-undocumented immigrant (which technically now describes Rodriguez since his legal residency was revoked) — may very well want to make an example of him.

(Via Chicago Tribune & New York Times)