Citing evidence of torture, judge orders man convicted of double-murder released

SHARE Citing evidence of torture, judge orders man convicted of double-murder released
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Cook County’s Leighton Criminal Court building. | Sun-Times files

He was convicted of a double murder and was supposed to serve life in prison.

But on Thursday a Cook County judge ordered Jaime Hauad, 37, released after serving only 21 years behind bars.

The mitigating circumstances: evidence that supports Hauad’s claim that he was tortured while being interrogated by Chicago Police detectives following his arrest for the gang-related shooting deaths in 1997.

The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission — created by lawmakers initially to investigate cases of alleged torture associated with former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge — determined last year that Hauad’s claim of torture was credible.

Police were accused of using an industrial-strength paper-cutter to slice off the toes of Jaime Hauad’s shoes to force his confession. | Provided

Police were accused of using an industrial-strength paper-cutter to slice off the toes of Jaime Hauad’s shoes to force his confession. | Provided

“There is sufficient evidence of torture to merit judicial review,” a report issued by the Torture Commission stated.

Two key pieces of evidence to support the allegation were Hauad’s sneakers. Police are accused of using an industrial-strength paper cutter to lop the tips off the shoes and threatening to cut off his toes if he didn’t confess.

Police photos of suspect lineups before and after the interrogation show the undamaged and damaged shoes, his attorney, Alison Flaum, said.

Hauad swapped shoes with a friend who, by chance, was put in the second lineup so his pal could smuggle the sneakers to Hauad’s mother to keep as proof of the abuse.

However, the story the shoes tell somehow fell through the cracks for nearly two decades before they began to make a difference in Hauad’s case.

Hauad also claims he was beaten before offering police a false alibi that was later used against him at trial. He told detectives he was behind bars at the time of the shooting. He was not.

The Torture Commission kicked the case back to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit and Hauad’s attorneys to decide jointly on how to proceed. A wide variety of options were open to them, including re-trial. They settled on re-sentencing Hauad for time served and setting him free.

At a hearing Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, Judge William Gamboneysigned off on the agreement.

Jaime Hauad | Illinois Department of Corrections

Jaime Hauad | Illinois Department of Corrections

“We had enough concerns that we felt a new sentence was appropriate,” Assistant State’s Attorney Eric Sussman told Gamboney. “We made a decision jointly that this was the best outcome.”

Hauad, who’s scheduled to be released Friday, made a brief statement in court.

“I want to thank the State’s Attorney’s Office for giving me back my life,” he said.

As of Thursday, Hauad had served a total of 7,547 days behind bars.

Robert Foley, a spokesman for State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, said the decision was made after “an exhaustive review” of the case by the Conviction Integrity Unit.

Hauad is being held at Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro, about a four-hour drive southwest of Chicago.

His daughter and granddaughter, neither of whom he’s ever hugged, will be there to meet him, along with his wife, said Flaum, an attorney with Northwestern University’s legal clinic.

Though Hauad’s sentence was reduced, his convictions still stand.

Flaum said Thursday that Hauad has maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal and they plan to pursue a certificate of exoneration.

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