Investigation of Wrongful Convictions Reveals "Tunnel Vision" by Chicago Police

A recent investigation by a special prosecutor into the Chicago-based "Ford Heights Four" case revealed that police and prosecutors perpetuated a "tunnel vision" mentality that kept them from pursuing the real perpetrators of the crime. Former prosecutor and judge Gino DiVito led the independent investigation conducted by the FBI and federal prosecutors. He noted that the flawed Ford Heights Four investigation of Dennis Williams, Verneal Jimerson, Kenneth Adams, and Willie Rainge was tainted by contradictory testimony from a purported eyewitness, weak corroboration of another witness, questionable scientific evidence, and dubious testimony of a jailhouse informant. The investigation revealed that police failed to follow-up on an early report that pointed to the real killers. Of the four men, Jimerson and Williams were sentenced to death and Adams and Rainge received life sentences. All men have since been freed (and Williams has died) and have settled a lawsuit against Cook County for $36 million. The report concluded that no crimes were committed by law enforcement during the case. (Chicago Tribune, August 22, 2003). See Innocence.