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Federal Judge Cites Medill Justice Project in Murder Case Ruling

Letter obtained by MJP under Freedom of Information Act part of new evidence

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Citing new evidence -- including a letter discovered by Northwestern University’s Medill Justice Project -- a federal judge yesterday ruled that “no reasonable jury” would find Jennifer Del Prete, a Chicago-area daycare worker, guilty of murder. Del Prete, however, was convicted in 2005 of the murder of an infant and is serving a 20-year prison sentence.

The Medill Justice Project published the decade-old letter as part of its investigation of Del Prete’s case. Written by a police commander and obtained by students through a Freedom of Information Act request, the letter indicates that the forensic pathologist questioned whether the daycare worker had violently shaken the child.

At a hearing tomorrow, attorneys will argue whether an evidentiary hearing is needed to consider Del Prete’s claim of ineffective counsel. Del Prete could be released if the judge finds that she did not receive a fair trial and the state chooses not to retry her.

Read more about the case in the article, "Federal Judge Rules No Reasonable Jury Would Find Daycare Worker Guilty."

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