Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

17 November 2009

There will never be closure in the Nicarico case

Originally posted at the AWEARNESS blog

There will never be closure in the Nicarico case as long as Jim Ryan continues to run for public office.

The Nicarico family never missed a court date. For years they sat in courtroom after courtroom listening to the lies from Attorney Jim Ryan's team as they refused to admit their mistakes and consider Brian Dugan as a suspect. Instead, Ryan kept the case rolling along to wrongfully convict two innocent men and send them to death row.

Jim Ryan is now running for Illinois Governor and "spent a decade as DuPage state's attorney, previously had said he based his case against Cruz and Hernandez on the best information available at the time, though Dugan had long been a suspect in the crime." As I have said before in this space, the Nicarico case made a significant impact on my life. As a child it taught me to make sure the doors are locked. As a teen it taught me the harsh realities of racism in our judicial system.

Now that Brian Dugan has confessed and been sentenced to death, Ryan is apologizing. Not to Rolando Cruz, not to the Nicaricos, but to the voting public. Will we accept it? I can't. I simply can't accept his apology, especially since he has never given one to Cruz.

The fact that Ryan continues to run for public office only reminds us of the miscarriage of justice that occurred. The pain that he put not just the Nicaricos through, but an entire generation of Chicagoans. And it's not over. This case will be an issue throughout the primary election. Dugan still has one automatic appeal owed to him: Illinois has a moratorium on the death penalty. Amazingly, the huge flaws seen in this case alone are still not enough to convince people that we need to abolish the death penalty.

According to Amnesty International "ninety three percent of all known executions took place in five countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the USA." I think that says a lot about the United States as a country. As our moms have said, we are judged by the company we keep.

I am opposed to the death penalty because it drags out court proceedings (thus wasting money), it is racist, but most importantly because we are flawed as human beings. The Nicarico case screams with our flaws. I don't believe any set of checks and balances can ensure that we won't make a mistake, especially in a country where we are still debating whether people have a right to NOT be framed or a right to DNA testing to prove innocence.

And sorry Jim Ryan, but no apology can make up for all of that.


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