Taft Pro Bono Client Receives Not Guilty Verdict in Re-Trial Victory

On July 21, 2022, Taft pro bono client Walter Hill was found not guilty of murder after having spent seven years in prison. In 2020, Taft Chicago partner Tim Eaton and associate Andrew Murphy were appointed to represent Hill in the direct appeal from criminal convictions for aggravated kidnapping and felony murder. In 2021, Eaton and Murphy successfully represented Hill before the Illinois appellate court, which vacated both convictions and remanded the case for a new trial based on an evidentiary error.

On remand, Chicago partner Christopher Grohman and Murphy, with assistance from a cell-site expert, demonstrated to a second jury during a four-day trial that Hill could not have been anywhere near the crime scene when the murder occurred. After three hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on all counts.

“We are so pleased for our client on the verdict of this trial. It’s not every day in our line of work that we have to opportunity to free a wrongly convicted individual from prison. This is a very special victory for Taft,” said Murphy.

Eaton is a partner and co-leader of Taft’s Appellate practice. He has a distinguished career in commercial and appellate litigation, as well as arbitration, and has been involved in a number of high-profile cases. Eaton has tried cases in both state and federal courts and before arbitration panels for over 40 years.

Grohman is a partner in Taft’s Compliance, Investigations, and White Collar Defense practice. He focuses his practice on defending corporations and individuals mired in government investigations, as well as conducting internal investigations and compliance reviews in an effort to stave off government involvement. Grohman formerly served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Murphy is a member of Taft’s Employment and Labor Relations, Litigation, and Appellate groups. He represents clients in a wide variety of complex legal disputes in all stages of litigation in state and federal courts.

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