60 Minutes - 26-Year Secret (March 9, 2008)
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(Mar 25, 2008)
Imagine you know a secret that could keep an innocent man out of jail, but you can't reveal it. And imagine being that innocent man, living out life in prison for a murder you didn't do. Bob Simon reports on the legal dilemma faced by two Chicago lawyers who, bound by the attorney-client privilege, couldn't say who really commit the crime. Now that their client is dead, they are speaking out to free Alton Logan.
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Dale Coventry and W. Jamie Kunz were Public Defenders in Chicago that had proof that it was not Logan that murdered a guard at a Chicago McDonald's back in the early 1980's, it was another person, Andrew Wilson, whom they represented, that was already a cop-killer. Because of the lawyer-client privilege rules, they couldn't tell the world what they knew.
So, they got a statement from Wilson in which Wilson admitted he was the trigger-man of the crime. And here's the catch: the lawyers were not to reveal it until Wilson's death. So the two lawyers of Wilson put it into a sealed envelope, placed it into a fireproof metal box owned by Dale Coventry, where it would stay until Wilson would die, whenever that would be. The lawyers would only reveal the information if Logan was to be sentenced to death, which he was spared by 2 critical votes in a 10-2 jury decision during his trial for the McDonald's shooting.
Because of the document being put away, and Logan being spared the Death Penalty by those two votes at his trial, Alton Logan was, in effect, 'put away' from having a normal life for 26 years. Think of it: that time he could've used to get married, have children, see the birth of grandchildren, and be working towards retirement.
When Wilson finally died, the two lawyers of Wilson's got the sealed envelope out of the fireproof box, and revealed it to the Cook County, Illinois authorities.
Postscript: after this episode of '60 Minutes' aired in 2008, Logan was finally released from prison after doing 26 years, and is currently suing (as I type this)Cook County, and infamous former Chicago police commander and rogue cop Jon Burge.