Randy Liebich finally exonerated after epic court battle, joining nation-leading list of Illinois exonerees
In a surprise move in the most recent case from the University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project, DuPage County prosecutors dropped all charges against Randy Liebich in the 2002 death of his stepson, Steven Quinn.
In 2004, Mr. Liebich was convicted of first-degree murder of two-year-old Steven and was sentenced to 65 years in a prison, effectively a life sentence. The evidence supporting his conviction, however, was called into question in a lengthy 2016 appellate decision, which ordered a hearing.
That hearing was conducted over seven days of testimony and argument last summer and fall in the DuPage County Circuit Court, where the Honorable Judge John J. Kinsella heard testimony from a host of medical experts from across the country and Canada. The experts unanimously agreed that whatever caused the child’s death happened prior to the time Mr. Liebich was caring for him. Many of those same medical experts testified that Steven may have died not from homicide but disease. Faced with this powerful evidence that the original trial court did not hear, Judge Kinsella ordered a new trial.
Mr. Liebich has remained on bond since Judge Kinsella’s order. Five days ago, on April 11, 2019, the appellate court granted the State’s motion to dismiss its appeal of the order. Now, the State has announced it will not be going forward at all.
Mr. Liebich has been represented by Attorneys Tara Thompson and Joshua Tepfer from the The Exoneration Project at the University of Chicago Law School, and Seattle-based attorney Heather Kirkwood, a national expert in child abuse cases.
According to a National Registry of Exonerations report last month, Illinois led the nation in exonerations for wrongful convictions last year, accounting for 1/3 of the USA total. Langdon & Emison has supported innocence project work since 2008.