Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Juan Rivera

First Name Juan
Last NameRivera
Year of Conviction1993
Year of Exoneration2012
State of ConvictionIllinois
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty Plea3 Trials
Type of CrimeRape and Murder
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeHispanic
Types of evidence at trial
  • Confession
  • DNA excluded
  • Forensic Evidence
Were non-public facts alleged?Yes
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • DNA
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Excluded
  • Valid
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies

● Victim was babysitting two children, a boy and a girl. ● Washed hands in the sink after murder. ● Victim’s apartment had two floors, was messy with clothes strewn everywhere, and a TV was on. ● Victim raped, vaginally and anally. ● Victim cut more than two times with knife ● Knife broken into two pieces ● Left through back door, breaking it with a mop BUT ● DNA excluded at third trial ● Inconsistencies included what victim was wearing, directions to the house, not mentioning breaking the back door ● Interrogation session was resumed to clear up "inconsistencies"

Quotes from law enforcement testimony

"Q. You didn’t suggest anything to Juan, did you, as to what his answer should be? A: No, sir. We were having a conversational explanation of what occurred….” “Q. Did you suggest that’s why the knife was hidden in the backyard? A: No, sir.”

Interrogation RecordedWritten and signed confession statement
Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Due Process
  • Jackson Claim
  • Sentencing — Noncapital
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Claims granted, resulting in preexon. reversal
  • Due Process
  • Jackson Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • I
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. Rivera, 708 N.E.2d 1282 (Ill. App.3d 1996)
People v. Rivera, 777 N.E.2d 360 (Ill.App. 2 Dist.,2001)
People v. Rivera, 962 N.E.2d 53 (Ill.App. 2 Dist. 2011).