An offer of immunity from state and federal prosecutors is not enough to get retired Chicago Police Det. Reynaldo Guevara to take the stand to defend himself from allegations he beat two suspects into confessing to a double-murder, a lawyer for the former gang officer said.
Guevara did not appear at a hearing Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, where Gabriel Solache and Arturo DeLeon-Reyes are trying to overturn their convictions for the 1998 slaying of Mariano and Jacinto Sotos. The case is one of many in which defendants have claimed Guevara framed them for murder or lesser charges during his three decades as a detective on the city’s West Side.
Since 2009, after years of denying allegations of abuse, Guevara has refused to testify under oath about his investigative techniques.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx last month took the rare step of offering the veteran officer “use immunity” to allow him to take the stand in Solache and DeLeon-Reyes’ case.
The grant of immunity means nothing he says could be used to prosecute him, so long has he tells the truth, though it would not prevent Guevara from facing criminal charges based on other evidence of wrongdoing. Guevara retired from the CPD in 2005.
Thursday, attorney William Fahy said the immunity offer was not enough to protect Guevara’s Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Judge James Obbish seemed to disagree, but gave Fahy until Aug. 4 to file a legal brief explaining how Guevara could avoid taking the Fifth in Solache and DeLeon-Reyes’ case. Guevara is not required to appear at the August hearing.
“Is your client aware of the potential consequences to him if he continues to refuse to answer questions put to him, asked by the state and parties here?” Obbish asked Fahy, a reference to contempt of court charges that could land Guevara in jail if he refuses to answer.
Guevara’s lawyers, in the past, have said that witnesses have only recanted testimony, and defendants have made allegations of abuse, because of intimidation by gang members seeking revenge on Guevara.