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Judge upholds controversial decision in Kevin Jackson case

Controversial decision in Kevin Jackson case upheld
Controversial decision in Kevin Jackson case upheld 02:43

CHICAGO (CBS) — A stunning court decision on Monday for a man fighting to get out of prison and clear his name even though Kevin Jackson insisted he was innocent, and even prosecutors agreed, a judge refused to overturn his conviction.

The judge gave a two-hour ruling reviewing this case and ultimately disagreed with a special prosecutors' report, saying there were significant flaws in the case against Kevin Jackson.

She also said a conflict of interest between the lead detective and a prosecutor in the conviction integrity unit did not exist.

"Just disappointed. Frustrated, but we're not gonna give up," said his sister Lakisha Jackson.

Kevin Jackson's family and friends were in court on Monday, as they have been for every hearing since December.

"How could they continue to deny me?"

The CBS 2 Investigators first revealed that after more than two decades in prison for a 2001 murder at a Southwest Side gas station. Jackson's case received a second look.

This was partly because a potential conflict of interest was revealed between the head CPD detective on Jackson's case and a prosecutor working in the unit that passed over Jackson's wrongful conviction claim.

Turned out they were married.

A special assistant state's attorney conducted a 13-month re-investigation, which found significant flaws in the case where all four witnesses recanted.

"The portions that we've read and the the impact that that report has had on decision-makers at the State's Attorney's Office suggest to me that, yes, that report strongly supports releasing Mr. Jackson on the basis of his absolute and unequivocal innocence," said the attorney Brandon Clark. 

But on Monday, Judge Angela Petrone said she did not agree with the special prosecutors' report and would not overturn his conviction or release Jackson.

She also did not agree there was a conflict of interest in this case. Notably, this is the fourth time this judge has denied a case with an unopposed motion to vacate a conviction.

Jackson's lawyers said the other three times the convictions were successfully overturned on appeal, which is exactly what they plan to do, sharing Jackson's words from prison:

"We are disappointed and frustrated but not broken because our fight for justice continues," said Clark, reading Jackson's statement. 

An appeal has already been filed. His attorneys said they still hope to have him home by the end of the summer.

Below is Jackson's complete statement:

First, I would like to thank all the supporters for coming out to support us today. 

Just a few moments ago, Judge Angela Petrone denied our Unopposed Motion to Vacate Judgment. A decision we believe is severely irrational and unjust. 

However, this is another perfect example of the grave injustice suffered not only by me, but all of Brian Forberg's victims. We are being treated as political pawns in our pursuit for justice. 

I want to stress that this situation has been incredibly hard for me and my family, as I have been sitting in prison, wrongfully convicted, for 23 years and 5 days. 

We are disappointed and frustrated but not broken as our fight for justice continues. It is imperative that the Cook County State's Attorney's Office double down their efforts in our fight for justice inside the criminal justice system.

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