Criminal Justice

Two Chicago men serving lengthy prison sentences are freed after convictions set aside

Two Chicago area men serving lengthy prison sentences were ordered freed Tuesday after prosecutors set aside their convictions.

Carl Chatman, 58, had been sentenced to 30 years in prison for raping of a Cook County clerk at the Daley Center in downtown Chicago in 2002, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times report.

Latherial Boyd was serving an 82-year sentence for fatally shooting one man and seriously wounding another outside of Wrigley Field in 1990, both papers report.

Prosecutors said that Chatman’s accuser had lied about being raped, though the woman won’t be charged with a crime because the statute of limitations on perjury have expired. The woman had previously reported being raped under similar circumstances at another downtown office building where she used to work, the Tribune reported.

They said Boyd had been misidentified as the gunman by the man who was wounded.

“Our work as prosecutors is about seeking justice, even if that measure of justice means that we must acknowledge failures of the past,” the Sun-Times quoted Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez as telling reporters outside the courthouse where the two men were ordered freed. “Justice was certainly delayed for Mr. Boyd and for Mr. Chatman, but we are hopeful that with today’s actions, it will not be denied.”

Russell Ainsworth, Chatman’s lawyer, said he was thrilled to hear that prosecutors were doing the right thing, but disappointed that it took so long. “We knew from the beginning that Carl was an innocent man,” he said.

But the alleged victim’s husband told the Tribune that he and his wife were outraged by the decision and were exploring their legal options. “This is absolutely infuriating,” the man, whom the Tribune agreed not to identify, is quoted as saying.

Boyd was convicted largely on the testimony of the surviving victim, who testified that Boyd had shot him and the other man over a drug debt.

But Boyd claimed to have been at his sister’s house some 20 miles away at the time of the shooting, according to the Tribune, which his sister and a Cook County sheriff’s deputy who was there at the time both testified to. Nine witnesses to the shooting also failed to pick Boyd out in a lineup.

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