URBANA, Ill. -- Champaign County's state's attorney will not oppose a 51-year-old Chicago man's petition asking a court to declare him innocent in a 1980 murder for which he spent more than 30 years in prison.
State's Attorney Julia Rietz said Wednesday that she decided not to file an objection to Andre Davis petition because she isn't sure she could prove Davis guilty.
"I don't want to be in the position of arguing that someone has not proved their innocence if I believe I cannot prove their guilt," Rietz told The News-Gazette in Champaign.
Davis was released from prison last year after DNA evidence helped overturn his conviction in the rape and murder of 3-year-old Brianna Stickle of Rantoul..
Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office also has decided it won't object to Davis' petition.
The petition now awaits action by Champaign County Associated Judge John Kennedy.
Davis has lived and worked in Chicago since he was released from Tamms Correctional Center, a "supermax" prison in southwest Illinois built to house the state's most hardened criminals, last July.
Innocence petitions are relatively new in Illinois. Petitioners must provide evidence to the court that proves their innocence.
Last week a Champaign County judge granted an innocence petition to Alan Beaman of Rockford in the 1993 murder of a former girlfriend. His conviction was overturned after he spent 13 years in prison.