Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx today announced that her office moved to vacate the convictions of 18 individuals whose narcotics arrests and subsequent convictions were based on the misconduct of corrupt former Chicago Police Sergeant Ronald Watts and other officers working under his command.
“As the result of an ongoing review by prosecutors in the Conviction Integrity Unit, today we asked the Court to vacate these convictions in the interest of justice,” said Foxx. “In these cases we found a pattern of misconduct by Watts and other officers, which strongly impacts our confidence in the initial arrests and validity of these convictions.”
Today in court, prosecutors formally presented the motions to Cook County Judge Leroy K. Martin, Jr. during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago, who granted the motions and vacated the convictions.
This marks the second time that the Foxx administration has initiated court action regarding cases involving Watts. In November 2017, the State’s Attorney’s Office filed similar motions to vacate the convictions of 15 individuals based on concerns regarding allegations of misconduct of the arresting officers, including Watts.
Since Foxx has taken office, the SAO Conviction Integrity Unit, responsible for investigating and addressing claims of wrongful conviction, has vacated criminal convictions for nearly 50 people, including 42 cases involving Watts.