Friday, January 29, 2016

Illinois Innocence Project at UIS helps secure release of Teshome Campbell in Champaign County murder case

The Illinois Innocence Project (IIP) at the University of Illinois Springfield is pleased to announce that clemency client Teshome Campbell will be released from prison today as a result of the decision by Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz’s decision not to retry him.

A Federal Court recently issue an order granting Campbell a new trial as a result of federal habeas proceedings. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan decided not to appeal that order. After considering whether a new case against Campbell would be justified after so many years, States Attorney Rietz decided not to go forward.

Teshome has always maintained his innocence for the 1998 murder in Champaign County, IL, for which he was wrongly convicted, primarily due to the failure of his trial counsel to investigate and interview witnesses.

Teshome’s pro se habeas petition was originally denied by the district court, but thanks to the work of the Madison, Wisconsin office of Perkins Coie (which accepted a pro bono appointment) the 7th Circuit remanded for an evidentiary hearing. After that evidentiary hearing, the district court ordered a new trial.

“We are delighted that Teshome will be released after so many years in prison for a crime we believe he did not commit,” said John Hanlon, executive and legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project.

“The Illinois Innocence Project would like to thank Coie and former IIP attorney Erica Nichols Cook and the students who worked diligently on this case, under a Wrongful Convictions grant, and did much of the foundational work,” said Hanlon.

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