Dedrick Coleman by Aminah Coleman

In 1991, Dedrick was convicted and sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. The detectives were from Area 3 and under the Supervision of the infamous Jon Burge. Documents and witnesses throughout the years have proven that the detectives falsified police reports, fabricated and concealed evidence in Dedrick’s case. (Settlements have been awarded in recent years regarding these detectives and their misconduct — their reputation is well known) The State knew all along that their witnesses were lying in court. Still, Dedrick lingers behind prison bars.

My husband has fought to prove his innocence for 30 years. A pro se leave to file & a successive post-conviction petition have been before Judge Petrone in Cook County since December 6, 2018, and no decision, no court date, nothing has moved forward. We have been unable to hire an attorney because of the amount of work they say would be involved with the case being so old, so Dedrick is fighting for his freedom and against his wrongful conviction on his own. It is inexcusable that because of these detectives, my husband has spent 30 years in the IDOC, with his death sentence being exchanged for life without the possibility of parole. Dedrick has no choice but to keep fighting for his life — there is no other way out. He is 52 years old and has spent 30 years in IDOC for a crime that someone else committed. He is a good man with a good heart. He has a legal mind and has helped so many other men around him to get back into court, file petitions, etc. He deserves a chance at life and a chance for his freedom. If he had the opportunity for parole, yes, he would take it.

The system is broken. Can it ever be fixed? Not as long as innocent people linger behind bars. But bringing back parole for men like Dedrick, where the courts refuse to do the right thing, would be a step forward for those who have long ago paid the price with their freedom, regardless of if they did the crime or not. Parole is hope, and all human beings need hope.