Retired Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara is accused of framing dozens for murder from the '80s into the early 2000s, allegedly beating out confessions, coaxing witnesses during suspect lineups, and sending more than 50 people away for a combined 2,300-plus years. Melissa Segura examines one case in particular for BuzzFeed: that of Roberto Almodovar, a hardworking teen accused of a drive-by killing of two teens in 1994. Despite an alibi from his aunt Mary and pregnant girlfriend, with whom he'd been fighting that night, Almodovar was found guilty. As Mary and her sisters prepared for his appeal, which they initially thought may have been an innocent fluke in the justice system, they discovered evidence of something worse: After talking with women who said their loved ones had also been put away in cases tied to Guevara, they believed Guevara had framed their nephew.
Segura examines the work of those who've taken on the system: these mostly working-class women whose loved ones have been convicted, poring over case files, then bringing the cracks they've found to the cops—all of which Segura says have been "largely ignored." But Segura doesn't just pin their plight on Guevara—she also points to a "massive breakdown of almost every safeguard in Chicago's criminal justice system." She notes the role of top cops, judges, and prosecutors in the city—aka the nation's "false confession capital"—as well as the feds in shrugging off accusations about Guevara. Meanwhile, Guevara has retired and continues to collect his city pension, which was about $75,000 last year. Read about Almodovar's continued, and frustrating, quest for freedom here. (This guy who spent nearly three decades in prison said Pablo Escobar framed him.)