The CCADP has maintained Aaron Patterson's personal webpage since 1998
        Aaron Patterson 
    Innocent on Death Row, Illinois
      A Profile of a Wrongful Conviction and A Quest for Justice
   Did Illinois Police set Aaron up to silence his political activity ?

    Visit Aaron Patterson's official webpage for more information on his current status at:


   Aaron feels like a man crying for help, and nobody is listening.

It is not within our power to go back and change what has already happened in this case.  
IT IS within our power to let Aaron know that we are listening, and that we uphold the rights
granted by the US constitution.
 Please take a small moment to send a card, or a "thinking of you"
message to Aaron.   Please send a card every 3 or 3 months,  this will ensure a constant high
volume of mail going to Aaron,  and past the prison personnel and guards.


                                     Current As of Jan 2005 - CONTACT AARON AT HIS NEW ADDRESS.
                                  AARON, unfortunately, is in prison again after almost two decades of unfair incarceration.  
                                          Aaron is awaiting his day in court on questionable drugs and weapons charges.  
                                                                          Aaron asks for your support and your letters.

                             C/O METROPOLITAN CORRECTIONAL CENTRE
                                                   71 W. VAN BUREN
                                                 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
                                                        60605  USA

                        or email through CCADP at

                                                  WANT TO HELP AARON FINANCIALLY ?

                    Send a Money Order or A Western Union through the FBOP as follows :

                                                                  MONEY ORDER :

                                                            Federal Bureau of Prisons
                                                           Aaron Patterson 21664-424
                                                                       PO Box 47401
                                                          Des Moines,  Iowa  50947-0001

                                                                   WESTERN UNION :
                                                           Western Union Quick Collect
                                   Call at 1-800-634-3422 with a debit or credit card.  Press # 2.
                                                                        1)   #21664-424
                                                                        2)    Aaron Patterson
                                                                        3)    city code : FBOP
                                                                        4)     state code : D.C



Released From Death Row January 10, 2003 !
"There isn't any doubt in my mind these four men were wrongfully prosecuted,
and wrongfully sentenced to die."
- Illinois Governor George Ryan
(See News)

    News - Aaron Patterson Released From Death Row!


          Thank you for upholding the principles of justice

       News About Aaron Patterson's Case (2002) - NEWS - 2004 Legal Troubles
         Historical - PETITION To Release Aaron From Death Row
           Death Row deal rejected-Inmate says no to Devine's offer
      Links to more information on Aaron Patterson and his case . . .

   State Representative Letter of Appeal to Janet Reno
       Statement from Dr. Morris about IL Police Abuse
           Amnesty International about IL Police Abuse
   Read About the Abuses at Illinois Menard Correctional Facility
Read recent articles: Aaron Patterson In The News
                    - May 31, 1999:
                                     A tortured path to Death Row - Chicgo Tribune November 17, 1999: 
                    INDY MEDIA CENTER NEWS:
            Article from New Abolitionist:
      Read Pure Torture  An article From The Chicago Reader
 Read some Notes On Aaron's Case from his Defense Committee
    Free Aaron Patterson    Another webpage with info from his supporters
   On and Off Death Row A panel discussion of the death penalty in Illinois
   The Aaron Patterson case     From: The Patrick Crusade
    Patterson On Death Row     From: The Patterson Genealogy page
Aaron Patterson Case, amicus brief written by MacArthur Justice Center attorneys and filed with Illinois Supreme Court on December 11, 1998, seeks a full hearing for Patterson and others under death sentence in Illinois who credibly claim that their convictions were the result in part of confessions that were extracted by torture. 
 Click here for copy of the amicus brief    * in MS Word (.doc)  format 
  ICADP   Aaron's mother Jo Ann Patterson is currently a member of the ICADP Board.
(Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty)  she is active in the committee for the defense of Aaron Patterson.
                        Article on "The Death Row 10"
               Stanley Howard's article on "The Death Row 10"
                                                       ( Stanley Howard - is one of the death row 10 ) 
         InternationalSupport for Aaron Patterson
                         Die Aaron Patterson Story - (German)
 Stimmen von Drinnen-Todestraktinsassen suchen Kontakt- (German)
Aaron Patterson is an African-American facing execution for the 1986 homicide of a Chicago couple.   His conviction was based on an unsigned 'confession' obtained through torture.    Police in Chicago's Area 2 Violent Crimes Unit kicked and struck Patterson, suffocated him, and interrogated him for 25 hours with no attorney present.   The 'confession', written by police was not signed by Patterson.    There is no physical or circumstantial evidence against him.  More than 40 black men were tortured with electric shocks,  suffocation hoods,  Russian roulette,  burns,  severe beatings,  and threats of death during a 12 year period,  resulting in the dismissal of a lieutenant in 1993.  Several prisoners on Illinois death row are Area 2 torture victims.
Tribune Photo By Chuck Berman   Aaron Patterson made this etching while in custody
                                    duing his 1986 interrogation and torture by Chicago Police.

Aaron Patterson was sentenced to death in 1989 for the double-homicide of Rafaela and Vincente Sanchez. The Sanchezes were an elderly couple on the south side of Chicago who were "fences," i.e. they sold stolen good from their house. They were found brutally stabbed to death with property taken from their home; there was no evidence of a break-in to the house.

  The "evidence" used to convict Aaron consisted of

1) an unsigned "confession" written by then Assistant State Attorney Peter Troy, along with the "confession" of Aaron's co-defendant Eric Caine; and

2) the testimony of Marva Hall-- the only "civilian witness" in the case.
No physical, circumstantial, nor eyewitness evidence connected Aaron to this crime.  Fingerprints and 3 different sets of bloody shoe prints uncovered at the crime scene were tested by the police lab technician and did not match Aaron's.   Multiple investigations into Aaron's case-- conducted within the last several years by investigators and attorneys at the Peoples Law Office, as well as by concerned citizens such as Professor David Protess of the Medill School of Journalism--unequivocally demonstrate that Aaron is innocent of the Sanchez murders. There are four key reasons that explain how Aaron was wrongfully convicted and why he remains on death row despite the evidence of his innocence.; These are:

1) police corruption;

2) prosecutorial misconduct (for more background information on prosecutorial misconduct in general refer to the series the Chicago Tribune newspaper ran starting 9 January 1999, at

3) ineffective assistance of counsel; and

4) judicial prejudice.

1) Police Corruption (Torture and Manufacture of False confession):
 Aaron was arrested as a suspect in the Sanchez murders during the afternoon of April 30, 1986, and taken to the Area 2 police station by Detective James Pienta, William Marley and William Pederson.  Police arrested Aaron after Marva Hall allegedly told Detective Danzl on April 21, 1986, that Aaron told her he killed the Sanchezes.; At that time,  Hall was a teen-ager and her cousin, DeEdward White, was in jail as a suspect in the Sanchez murders.
 According to Aaron, at Area 2 he was handcuffed behind his back in an interrogation room and tortured later that night by Detectives Pienta, Marley and Pederson, among others.; These officers beat Aaron and repeatedly suffocated him by pulling a typewriter cover over his head. Under this duress, Aaron eventually succumbed to the torture and kept saying "anything you say." The officers left the room to get a Felony Review State's Attorney.  They were gone for an hour. During this time, Aaron scratched into a bench in the room that he was being tortured.  Lt. Jon Burge then entered the room with Assistant State Attorney Kip Owen who was ready to take Aaron's "confession."
Aaron asked Owen to talk to him alone, without Burge present; Burge left the room.  Aaron then told Owen that he had nothing to say to him and that he wanted a lawyer. Owen left the room and Burge then re-entered,  Burge pulled out his gun and placed it on the table, telling Aaron that he was making a mistake and matters could get much worse for him.  Burge left and Aaron remained in the interrogation room.  The next day, Assistant State Attorney Peter Troy entered the room with a statement he had written regarding the Sanchez murders, but Aaron refused to sign it.; Consequently, Detective Madigan beat him.  However, the police soon stopped the interrogation and Troy's written statement--unsigned by Aaron-- became the "confession" entered in  Assistant State Attorney Owen stated at one point during the interrogation that he needed further corroboration before Aaron could be charged. This concern was disregarded by the State Attorney's office which proceeded to prosecute Aaron.
a) Former police commander Jon Burge was in charge of the Sanchez investigation which was conducted at a time when his torture ring at Area 2 was in full operation. In 1986, Burge had not yet been publicly exposed nor fired for torture. Aaron did not know who Burge was at the time, but merely described him as the "red haired officer."  The officers who beat and suffocated Aaron-- particularly James Pienta--were subsequently exposed as being participants in Burge's torture ring;  these officers were involved in other incidents of Area 2 torture.  Additionally, the torture techniques applied against Aaron-- the
suffocation bagging and the gun threat-- were the same techniques utilized by Burge, Pienta and the officers involved in other torture cases.
 b) Aaron's etchings-- in the bench of the interrogation room-- were photographed, verifying their existence. On May 7, 1986, Detectives Pienta and Marley wrote a memo to Burge, warning him of the existence of the  etchings. Aaron's current defense team at the Peoples Law Office has obtained this memo.  On May 27, 1986, one of Aaron's then defense team; members, Ike Carrothers, came to Area 2 in an attempt to photograph the etchings; he was blocked by Burge who required Carrothers to obtain authorization from the State Attorney's office.  On May 29, 1986, Arnold Ross Victor went to Area 2 with a court order on behalf of the defense team and photographed the etchings.
 c) The same officers involved in Aaron's interrogation tortured co-defendant, Eric Caine. Like Aaron, Caine was taken to Area 2 as a suspect in the Sanchez murders. Detectives Pienta and Marley beat him and Detective Madigan shattered his eardrum; emergency room staff verified the evidence of his torture.  These officers attempted to force Caine to implicate Aaron in the crime in addition to "confessing" his own alleged involvement. Caine stated that, at one point while he was at Area 2, police took him by Aaron who looked like he had been brutalized. Additionally, Michael Arbuckle, another suspect in the Sanchez murder, was threatened with electrocution by police and pressured to implicate Aaron.
 d) On August 12 and 23, September 1 and 7, 1994, Aaron was personally evaluated by Dr. Antonio Martinez, an expert in treating torture victims, to determine if he had been tortured. Dr. Martinez determined Aaron had been tortured during his interrogation at Area 2.
He also determined Aaron exhibited "six categories of psychological
markers which qualify under Post Traumatic Stress Disorder..."
e) The content of the; "confession"-- aside from; how it was produced-- is not credible. According to the "confession," the Sanchezes were killed in the early morning hours of April 18, 1986. In contrast, one of the Sanchezes neighbors, Ophelia Loy, stated that she saw Vincente Sanchez raking the lawn at 3:00 PM on April 18, 1986.  Ms. Loy reported this finding in a Medical Examiner's Report dated April 19, 1986, but she was never summoned to testify in court at the trial.
Prosecutorial Misconduct (Collaboration with Police Torture, Witness Intimidation, Use of Perjured Testimony, and Possible Destruction of Evidence):
 Assistant State Attorney Peter Troy wrote Aaron's alleged "confession" and attempted to have him sign it; Aaron refused. Troy knew Aaron had been tortured and this "confession" was not legitimate.  Nonetheless, Troy stood by the "confession" when Aaron went to trial.    According to a 1998 affidavit by Marva Hall, Aaron's trial prosecutor, Jack Hynes, threatened to have her locked up if she did not testify against Aaron. Though she explained to Hynes that her alleged statement to the police on April 21, 1986, implicating Aaron was false, Hynes nonetheless pressured her to testify against him. Hall has since recanted this testimony on three separate occasions, most recently in her 1998 affidavit. Hall was the state's star witness-- the only "civilian" witness-- against Aaron. This fact is underscored again in an October 4, 1998, article by Steve Mills in the Chicago Tribune.
 Fingerprint evidence was uncovered from a cassette recorder on the victim's back porch by two CPD evidence technicians on April 19, 1986.  Chicago police officer Herman Kluth testified as an expert on fingerprint comparisons at Aaron's trial, noting that the impressions did not match Aaron or Caine. ; Kluth further testified that the prints were compared with other possible suspects and that these results were in an "evidence envelope."  Aaron's current defense team recently subpoenaed the CPD to release this evidence; the team planned to have its own expert run a print comparison in order to determine who the prints may match, thereby pointing to the real killer. However, this evidence was now 'missing' from the CPD's files.; The defense team also sought to obtain this evidence from the State Attorney's file,  the evidence was again "missing." This evidence envelope also contained six photos of three different bloody shoe prints found on the kitchen floor of the victims house.
3)  Ineffective Assistance of Counsel (Failure to Introduce Evidence of Torture, Failure to Impeach Unreliable Witnesses, Failure to Investigate Leads and Summon Witnesses):    The issues of ineffective of counsel in Aaron's case are legion and run throughout the pre-trial, trial and direct appeal process. Only recently, with the filing of his post conviction petition for relief by the People's Law Office, has Aaron been effectively represented.
During the pre-trial phases, Aaron's representation shifted from one public defender to another, disrupting continuity and focus.  These public defenders failed to thoroughly research and uncover the evidence that substantiated Aaron's claim of torture.   They failed to submit to the court the growing evidence of torture at Area 2 by Burge and his men that was available through the Andrew Wilson case research; to have Aaron evaluated for signs
of torture; to effectively introduce the etching evidence before the court; to summon the witnesses, e.g. emergency room staff who could verify the co-defendant, Eric Caine, had been tortured; and to effectively cross-examine the state's witness, and summon other witnesses who could have corroborated the credibility of Aaron's claim. In addition,
Aaron's trial counsel failed to impeach the credibility of Marva Hall by exposing inconsistencies in and between her statements and grand jury testimony; to summon Ophelia Loy to testify about seeing Vincente Sanchez raking his yard long after the documented time of the murder per the unsigned "confession;" and to investigate and summon other witnesses who could have pointed to the real killer. Lastly, trail counsel failed to effectively challenge Aaron's assignment to Judge Cieslik (see next section--4).
After the conviction and death sentence, the State Appellate Defender's Office (due to a backlog of death cases at the time) turned Aaron's case over to a private Chicago law firm, Ross and Hardies, who were invested with the responsibility to find Aaron a pro-bono attorney. Ross and Hardies recruited the law firm of Foley and Lardner to handle
the appeal; Foley and Lardner, in true, assigned the case to associate Joan Kubalanza to prepare the appeal. At the time, Ms. Kubalanza had exclusively handled commercial litigation; Aaron's direct appeal was her first "criminal case" ever and her first experience litigating a matter before the Illinois Supreme Court. As the trial counsel, Ms. Kubalanza
failed to effectively represent Aaron due to her lack of experience and time constraints. Consequently, the direct appeal was denied.  Aaron's case then returned to trial Judge Morrissey for the post conviction petition appeal. At this point, Aaron's case was taken over by the People's Law Office which is currently representing him on his post conviction
appeal before the Illinois Supreme Court.
 Judicial Prejudice (Improper Selection, Racism, and Unprofessional conduct from the Bench):  From the beginning of the trial process, Aaron has been a victim of judicial prejudice encompassing his improper transfer to Judge Cieslik and the subsequent conduct of both Cieslik and Morrissey.   After Aaron was arraigned, his case was initially
assigned to Judge Bailey. However, his defense attorney at the time moved to substitute Judge Bailey as a matter of right under the statute.   Although the normal practice then at the Criminal Courts Building for judge substitution was to sent the case to Chief Judge Richard Fitzgerald's call for reassignment, Judge Bailey reassigned Aaron's case directly to Judge Cieslik over the objection of Aaron's attorney. Cieslik had a reputation for racist and sexist conduct and had been censured for offensive comments to then attorney Mary Jane Theis who is now herself a judge. Once Aaron's case was improperly reassigned to Cieslik, his attorney filed a Motion to Vacate Case Assignment, Judge Cieslik denied this motion. In anger over this Motion Cieslik stated, "I never walk away from any case..."
Aaron's attorney changed to Luther Hicks who had represented Derrick Morgan
in another murder case before Judge Cieslik. During that trial, Cieslik referred to Hicks, who is African-American, as "Smiley" and to Jim Rhodes, another AfricanAmerican assistant public defender who represented a co-defendant, as "Laughing Boy." Both Hicks and Rhodes believed the comments to be derogatory and racist and these comments became the basis for a Judicial Inquiry Board hearing.  Cieslik denied Aaron's motion to suppress the "confession," stating: " a murder case of this nature what possible
benefit could be had by the police officer (by) abusing the defendant as he says he was abused... ." In other words, how could anyone believe that the police would torture a suspect?
 On December 22, 1988, Judge John Morrissey succeeded Cieslik in hearing the case. Morrissey had recently been assigned to the Criminal division and had no felony experience as a judge. Despite Cieslik's departure, the problem of judicial prejudice continued. Prior to becoming a judge, Morrissey was a prosecutor. He prosecuted
Paul Steven Linscott and during the closing arguments of that trial, misled the jury. The jury was left to believe that blood and hair samples belonged to Linscott. The appellate court overturned Linscott's conviction and he was later released.  Morrissey, as a judge, refused to hand over DNA evidence for Ronald Jones' lawyer to test; the Illinois Supreme
Court then intervened and forced Morrissey to turn over the evidence which subsequently exonerated Mr. Jones.  More recently, Morrissey attempted to prohibit Darrell Cannon-- another Area 2 torture victim-- from obtaining a hearing on the validity of his alleged "confession;" again, the appellate court overruled Morrissey and has required him to give Cannon an evidentiary hearing on the alleged "confession."
With this background, it should come as no surprise that Morrissey sustained Cieslik's ruling on Aaron's Motion to suppress his "confession" and that Morrissey unprofessionally commended the jury when they returned with a guilty verdict for Aaron. Nor should it come as a surprise that Morrissey denied Aaron's post conviction petition in 1995 despite the preponderance of evidence that had been uncovered since the original trial substantiating Aaron's claim of innocence.
Conclusion:   The issues highlighted here represent many of the civil and human rights violations committed against Aaron Patterson since that afternoon on April 30, 1986, when he was detained by police and taken to Area 2.  Aaron's case is a vivid intersection of the corrupt practices and institutional failures of the Illinois criminal justice system; police brutality, prosecutorial misconduct, judicial prejudice, and ineffective defense representation.
It is up to concerned citizens to intervene and stop what amounts to a legal lynching.  By failing to act, we are all guilty for allowing a terrible miscarriage of justice to occur.

          Write Illinois State Officials to show your support !
             Thank-You for Writing Illinois State Officials to show your support !
 Letter to Illinois State Attorney General Jim Ryan
 Letter to Cook County State Attorney Dick Devine
             Letter to Judge Michael Toomin
             Letter to Governor George Ryan

Please Email - Fax - Phone - Write - the Governor and DEMAND that Aaron Patterson be given a pardon based on ACTUAL INNOCENCE !

319 East Madison, Suite A
Springfield, Illinois
62701  USA

phone (312) 814-3158
fax (312) 814-5512

Please Email - Fax - Phone - Write -the Attorney General and DEMAND that he drop the case immediately, quit delaying and covering up the truth of torture and ACTUAL INNOCENCE  !

309 Daley Center  (5th floor)
Chicago Illinois
60602  USA

phone (312)603-5440
fax (312)603-4708

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This page was last updated May 26, 2005           Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty
This page is maintained and updated by Dave Parkinson and Tracy Lamourie in Toronto, Canada