by Mike Masnick
Thu, Nov 12th 2009 4:40am
Last month, we thought it was quite excessive that states' attorneys in Illinois were asking for all sorts of information on the students who were involved in the Medill Innocence Project -- a journalism school investigative reporting effort that has helped free wrongly convicted individuals. The prosecutors were asking for information on the students' grades and private notes, which seemed to go beyond what seemed reasonable. However, now the prosecutors are claiming that the students may have paid witnesses for their interviews, which could raise questions about their authenticity (found via Romenesko). Of course, reading the details, it's not so clear cut. The students admit that they paid for the guy's cab fare, but it sounds like there was money left over from the cash they gave the cabbie, and he gave it to the interview subject (who then used it to buy drugs). That certainly makes it a little more clear as to why prosecutors were looking for more info, but it still seems like the overall request went beyond what was reasonable. It certainly looks more like an intimidation tactic than any attempt to get to the bottom of the case.
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