Judge denies certificate of innocence........


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Posted Online: Sept. 08, 2012, 8:43 pm
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Lisa Hammer, rlhammer@qconline.com
CAMBRIDGE - Judge Charles "Casey" Stengel this past week denied a petition of innocence for a former Kewanee woman who was imprisoned for seven years for the death of her 3-year-old daughter on the theory of accountability, that she should have known about the abuse her daughter suffered at the hands of her boyfriend.

Tabitha Pollock is free, but will not receive reparations for the time she served.

Judge Jay Hanson originally sentenced Ms. Pollock to 36 years in prison in the death of her 3-year-old daughter Jami Sue, but the Illinois Supreme Court reversed her conviction in 2002 and the legislature, through Public Act 95-970, enables innocent people to apply for assistance and redress by applying for a certificate of innocence. The standard of innocence is by a "preponderance of the evidence."

Ms. Pollock's boyfriend, Scott English, gave a statement to police that he entered Jamie Sue's bedroom three times on the night she died, the first time finding her tangled in covers and unbundling her, then at 3 a.m. finding her wiggling underneath blankets so he yelled at her, hit her twice, the first time with a hammering motion and the second less forcefully. The final time he went in, he found her lifeless and he began to perform CPR. After 3 to 5 minutes he woke up Ms. Pollock and told her something was wrong with her daughter.

Ms. Pollock then began performing CPR on her child and told Mr. English to call 911. The emergency room doctors attempted to revive Jamie Sue for an hour, during which time Ms. Pollock was described as frantic and shaking, and when the doctor told the family he could not save her, Ms. Pollock slumped to the floor and broke down crying. An autopsy showed she died of blunt force trauma and asphyxiation.

After being told Mr. English murdered her child, Ms. Pollock began to come up with a list of prior injuries that could be consistent with abuse. Her family also testified at trial about injuries, but they said it never occurred to any of them that Mr. English might be abusing Ms. Pollock's children or that injuries were anything but accidental.

"She was duped into believing Jamie Sue was a particularly clumsy child prone to accidents," Ms. Raley argued.

Mr. English is serving a 50-year sentence for the murder. His projected parole date is October 11, 2020.

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