Tribune causes trial delay p.16

By: Lucia Moses Seven law enforcement officials, accused of railroading an innocent man into Death Row, won a delay in their trial by arguing a recent Chicago Tribune series on prosecutorial misconduct would taint the jury pool.
DuPage (Ill.) County judge William Kelly pushed the trial start back to March 9 and set a Feb. 16 date on a motion from one of the defendants to move the trial out of the county or pick jurors from another area.
The seven defendants ? including three former county prosecutors and four sheriff's officers ? are accused of fabricating evidence that was twice used to convict Rolando Cruz, 35, in the 1983 rape and murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico. Cruz was sentenced to death twice and spent 12 years in prison before being acquitted in 1995 at a third trial.
In the Tribune's five-part "Trial & Error" investigative series, one article was devoted entirely to the Cruz cases. The DuPage officials say the article, coming on the eve of jury selection, made a fair trial impossible.
Cruz attended the hearing on the continuance and lashed out at the former prosecutors for "hypocrisy."
"For three trials, DuPage County used the media to prosecute me and to attempt to execute me and to have me murdered. And it as OK," Cruz says at an impromptu news conference. "But now that the media went on their own and printed the truth, 'Oh, we've go to have a continuance.'"
In a statement, the Tribune says it was the court's responsibility to ensure a fair trial and "nothing published in the Chicago Tribune altered this."
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?(copyright: Editor & Publisher February 6, 1999) [Caption]


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