Jose Montanez Was Wrongfully Imprisoned 23 Years
Thanks to Disgraced Det. Reynaldo Guevara
Today a man who lost 23 years of his life serving time in a prison for a crime he didn’t commit, is suing in federal court a
disgraced former police detective who used dozens of frame-ups to advance his career.
While serving time in maximum security prison, Jose Montanez lost two grandparents, two uncles, three aunts, and four cousins. Meanwhile, Detective Reynaldo Guevara built a career out of “solving” cold cases, mainly by framing fellow Latinos for crimes they didn’t commit, and was rewarded with promotions and rapid advancement through the ranks of the Chicago Police Department.
“This is a pattern seen we’ve seen repeatedly not just with well-known crooked cops, like former Commander Jon Burge, but with many other, lesser-known police offenders,” said Russell Ainsworth of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, one of Montanez’s lawyers. “In each case these weren’t lone, rogue officers – they had the direct assistance in their law-breaking by several colleagues, and were rewarded by the highest echelons of the Department.”
In Montanez’s case, Guevara had the assistance of at least two other officers and two assistant state’s attorneys in coercing Francisco Vincente, a heroin addict facing over 100 years of incarceration on his own pending charges, to falsely implicate Montanez. The hopelessly vulnerable Vincente similarly helped Guevara “solve” three other unrelated murder cases, sending four innocent men to prison for crimes they didn’t commit, all so that Guevara could fast track his career.
As the suit notes, since his misconduct came to light, “Defendant Guevara has universally taken the Fifth about his a
ctivities as a Chicago police officer in the face of over 100 incidents of his misconduct, asserting his right to silence on grounds that truthful responses would subject him to criminal liability.”
On June 7, 2016, the Appellate Court reversed the dismissal of Montanez’s post-conviction petition alleging his innocence, describing the mounting evidence of Guevara’s repeated gross misconduct as “profoundly alarming.” In a separate investigation, the City of Chicago found that Montanez deserved to be exonerated based upon innocence. Finally, the State moved to dismiss all charges against Montanez, and he walked free on July 20, 2016. Without opposition, the state court issued Plaintiff a Certificate of Innocence on November 2, 2016.
A copy of the suit, Jose Montanez v. Chicago Police Officer Reynaldo Guevara, et al., #1:17-cv-04560, can be found here.
Mr. Montanez is represented by attorneys Jon Loevy, Russell Ainsworth, Debra Loevy and Ruth Brown of the civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law. Loevy & Loevy is one of the largest civil rights law firms in the United States. It has won more multi-million-dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the entire country over the past decade.