Illinois led the nation in exonerations last year for wrongful convictions; Robert Bouto was one of those exonerees
Bouto was 17 years old when he was wrongly put behind bars for more than half of his life
CHICAGO – Robert Bouto, who spent more than half of his life in prison thanks to a frame-up for murder by notorious former Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara, today sued the City of Chicago, Cook County, Guevara and other police officers and assistant states attorneys who participated in the frame-up.
Bouto, his friends, family and attorneys will speak at a 1 pm news conference today at the West Loop offices of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, 311 N. Aberdeen Street, 3rd floor, Chicago.
Bouto is among nearly 100 Chicagoans who were wrongly convicted and thrown behind bars by Guevara, who abused his position as a police detective to manufacture false evidence and lie in court for decades. Guevara has taken the 5th Amendment in over 100 incidents of his misconduct to avoid prosecution for his alleged wrongdoing.
According to the suit,
“Guevara and his cohorts…specialized in framing young men to close unsolved cases and did so time and time again over the course of two decades working for the Chicago Police Department…. To secure Mr. Bouto’s wrongful conviction, Defendant Guevara and other Defendants coerced, manipulated, and instructed eyewitnesses—most of whom were teenagers—to identify Mr. Bouto as the shooter, even though they witnessed a chaotic scene and were too far from the shooter to reliably identify anyone. The two eyewitnesses who identified Mr. Bouto at trial have since recanted their testimony, alleging that that Guevara improperly influenced their identifications and that they did not even see the perpetrator’s face.”
The lawsuit also details how Guevara and his associates used the same fake jailhouse “witness” to solve three unrelated murders over the course of just weeks, deliberately lied in police reports, and withheld or destroyed exculpatory evidence to keep it from Bouto’s criminal defense attorney.
Following numerous cases of suspected wrongdoing by Guevara, the City of Chicago commissioned its own investigation under the leadership of former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Scott Lassar and his firm, Sidley Austin. In 2015, that investigation concluded: “[W]e find it more likely than not that Bouto is innocent of the murder of Salvador Ruvalcaba.”
Despite having two independent alibi witnesses, and bearing no resemblance to the shooter as initially described by witnesses, Bouto was convicted of the 1993 shooting near Roosevelt High School in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood. Salvador Ruvalcaba’s murder remains unsolved to this day.
On April 30, 2018, the Circuit Court of Cook County finally vacated Bouto’s conviction, and he received his Certificate of innocence on March 27, 2019.
On Tuesday, the National Registry of Exonerations reported that last year was a record year for the number of exonerations due to wrongful convictions, and that Illinois led the nation in the number of such exonerations.
Robert Bouto is represented by Arthur Loevy, Jon Loevy, Russell Ainsworth, and Ruth Brown of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law. Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms and has won more multi-million-dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the country.
A copy of the suit, Robert Bouto v. Chicago Police Officers Reynaldo Guevara, Ernest Halvorsen, Edward Mingey, Kenneth Pang, Alan Pergande, Richard Maher, Lupe Pena, L. Marrron, and Unknown Officers; Kevin Hughes; City of Chicago and Cook County, No. 1:19-cv-02441, can be found here.