Case Conclusion Date: 01.08.2010
Practice Area: Lawsuits and disputes
Outcome: Judgment for the plaintiff.
Description: The plaintiff was convicted of theft from her own mother in a prosecution instigated by her sister. The judgment in this case granted the plaintiff a certificate of the innocence, declaring her actually innocent of the charge of theft after a jury verdict of guilty that was overturned on appeal for reasons including the erroneous exclusion of Ward’s proffered witnesses and insufficiency of the evidence. In that appeal, the prosecution was barred from retrying Ward based on Double Jeopardy. The certificate of innocence was granted based on section 2-702 of the Code of Civil Procedure of Illinois, which was enacted in 2008. This is believed to be the first contested case seeking a certificate of innocence to go to trial since the law was enacted in 2008. Ward spent about two years and four months of a sentence of over six years incarcerated on the guilty verdict, most of that time spent in the maximum security penitentiary for women in Dwight, Illinois, in the company of convicted murderers. The jury in the criminal case acquitted Ward of the charge of financial abuse of an elderly person, a charge also instigated by the sister.