Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Edward L. Bolden





Life Imprisonment

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Year Cleared:


U.S. State or Country of Crime:


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Judicially Exonerated

Summary of Case:

"Edward L. Bolden (aka Eddie Bolden) was wrongly convicted on October 30, 1996 of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder and and aggravated battery in the shooting death of two men and the wounding of a third man in Chicago, Illinois on January 29, 1994. There was no physical evidence linking Bolden to the crime, so the prosecution's key evidence was his identification in a line-up, and then at trial, as the shooter by the survivor, Clifford Frazier, who was the brother of one of the victims. Bolden was arrested on February 26, 1994 after his identification by Frazier. Bolden's misidentification defense was that he didn't physically resemble the person assailant that Frazier described to police. Bolden's alibi defense, supported by two witnesses, was that at the time of the shooting he was at the J & J Fish, the restaurant several blocks from where the shooting took place. After he was shot Frazier ran into J & J Fish seeking help. After his conviction by a jury Eddie Bolden was sentenced to life in prison for the murders, plus 30 years for the attempted murder. In 1999 the Illinois Court of Appeals affirmed Bolden's convictions and sentences, although it did describe the evidence against him as "extremely thin." (People v. Bolden, No. 1-96-4221, 301 Ill.App.3d 1082, 253 Ill.Dec. 887, 746 N.E.2d 335 (1999)) The Illinois Supreme Court accepted his case for discretionary review. On June 21, 2001 the Supreme Court affirmed Bolden's convictions in rejecting his arguments the line-up procedure violated his constitutional rights, and that the judge erred by giving a jury instruction that a suspect is not entitled to have a lawyer present during a line-up. After the Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction, Bolden filed a post-conviction petition in October 1999 that claimed his trial lawyer provided ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to contact alibi witnesses, and failing to move for discovery sanctions when police destroyed physical evidence after his lawyer requested them in discovery. Bolden's petition was denied, and Bolden appealed, arguing the judge erred in denying it without holding an evidentiary hearing. On June 18, 2014, almost 15 years after Bolden filed his petition, the Illinois Court of Appeals ruled the trial judge erred because his petition made a substantial showing of ineffective assistance of counsel, and remanded for an evidentiary hearing. After was held during which Bolden's three new alibi witnesses -- Vondell Goins, Octavia Jackson, and Todd Henderson -- testified. Goins testified that at the time she heard the gunshots she was talking with Bolden and Jackson in the restaurant, and that Bolden was in the restaurant when Frazier came in. Goins also testified that she spoke with police the night of the shooting. Jackson and Henderson likewise testified in support of Bolden's alibi, and they all testified they couldn't rember being contacted by an investigator or attorney for Bolden until 2011 when they were contacted by an investigator working with Bolden's post-conviction attorney. Cook County Judge Alfredo Maldonado granted Bolden's petition and set-aside his conviction based on the ineffective assistance of his trial lawyer for failing to investigate the alibi evidence by Goins, who her evidence was credible enough that it could have changed the jury's verdict. The Cook County State's Attorney declined to retry Bolden, and on April 19, 2016 Judge Maldonado granted the State's Attorney's motion to dismiss the charges against Eddie Bolden. He was released later that day after more than 22 years in custody."

Conviction Caused By:

"Unreliable eyewitness testimony by the victim, and ineffective assistance of counsel."

Innocence Proved By:

"The Cook County State's Attorney declined to retry Bolden, and on April 19, 2016 Judge Maldonado granted the State's Attorney's motion to dismiss the charges against Eddie Bolden."

Defendant Aided By:

Pirvate investigator Susan Carlson.

Compensation Awarded:

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:


Age When Released:





Information Source 1:

"Eddie Bolden freed: Suburban mom key figure behind release after 2 decades in prison, By Steve Schmadeke and Grace Wong (Staff reporters), Chicago Tribune, April 20, 2016"

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Information Source 2:

"Judge orders new murder trial for man in prison 22 years, By Steve Schmadeke (Staff reporter), Chicago Tribune, January 21, 2016"

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Information Source 3:

"People v. Bolden, 756 NE 2d 812, 197 Ill.2d 166 (Ill. Supreme Court 2001) (Affirming convictions and sentence)"

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Information Source 4:

"People v. Bolden, 13 NE 3d 786 (Ill. Appellate Court, 1st Dist., 3rd Div. 6-18-2014) (Ordering evidentiary hearing on IAC claims)"

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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