The convictions came 19 years ago, said a release from the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law, which joined with the attorney general's office and the law firms of Mayer Brown LLP and Baker & McKenzie. The public and private attorneys are set to make the formal request in court Tuesday.
One case was based on a confession obtained by a detective working under former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge, the release said.
Both cases reflected alleged prosecutor failure to provide defense attorneys with exculpatory evidence -- evidence that tended to show innocence -- said Rob Warden, executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions.
The release said one of the men, Ronald Kitchen, was sentenced to death and the other, Marvin Reeves, to five life terms without parole. The sentences were for the allegedly drug-related murders of two women and three children whose bodies were found in their burning home in July 1988.
Both men have strong claims of actual innocence, the release said. Kitchen has consistently maintained his confession was beaten out of him by Detective Michael Kill, who worked for Burge.
Kitchen is represented by Thomas F. Geraghty, director of the Bluhm Legal Clinic, and Carolyn E. Frazier, also of the clinic, as well as Mark Oates of Baker & McKenzie. Reeves is represented by Michael J. Gill and David D. Pope of Mayer Brown, the release said.