This exoneration story does not include a tearful family reunion outside the courthouse. Reynaldo Munoz already served 30 years for a murder he did not commit and had been out on parole since 2016, living with his high school sweetheart and family in Florida, per USA Today. But his story is noteworthy: His conviction was vacated in late February, and his case marks the 3,000th entry on the National Registry of Exonerations, which has catalogued exonerations in jurisdictions across the US dating back to 1989. His is one of dozens of exonerations to come out of Cook County, home of the Chicago Police Department, in 2022 thus far.
The registry provides the details of Munoz's case: He was arrested at 16 in connection with a Chicago shooting that left a 21-year-old dead. Munoz said Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara questioned him about that and other murder, hit his face when he denied knowing about them, and then took him to a rival gang's territory. He says Guevara removed him from the car and allowed gang members to beat him. Per the registry, "Years later, Guevara would be exposed as a detective who routinely physically abused suspects and witnesses alike." USA Today reports evidence—about the gun and a witness who said "Shorty" did the crime—was suppressed at trial. As for the 3,000th-milestone, registry co-founder Samuel Gross notes the number "could easily be twice as many." (Read more exoneration stories.)