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Chicago Prosecutor Assails CBS for "Offensive" Report on False Confessions

December 14, 2012 08:51:00 am

After days of scathing reviews of her "60 Minutes" interview on false confessions, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez called the program "one-sided and extremely misleading" and vowed to set the record straight, the Chicago Tribune reports. The segment, "Chicago: The False Confession Capital," featured two Chicago-area cases in which teenage boys allegedly confessed to brutal murders but were later exonerated when DNA excluded them as the killers. Alvarez sent a letter to CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, Alvarez calling the story "an offensive display" and accused reporter Byron Pitts of using only snippets of a 6-month-old interview to distort her record and make it appear she was still trying to prosecute the cases.

In the Dixmoor Five case in which five men were convicted as teens of the 1991 rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl whose body was found on a path, DNA linked a serial rapist to the crime and undermined confessions from the teens. They were cleared in 2011 after spending years in prison. Alvarez explained in the interview that one possible explanation for the DNA was necrophilia — that the rapist had sex with the girl after she'd already been killed. That answer — which was roundly mocked in blogs and news critiques — was misconstrued, Alvarez said in the letter. She wrote that the necrophilia theory was used at trial years before she had any involvement in the case.

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