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Columnist
Waukegan man appeals conviction again
By Tony Gordon | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 8/4/2010 12:00 AM

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Juan Rivera, the Waukegan man convicted three times in the 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old baby sitter, is appealing his most recent conviction.

Attorneys for the Center on Wrongful Convictions, who defended Rivera at his trial last year that resulted in his third sentence to life in prison, recently filed the appeal with the Second Appellate Court in Elgin.

In the appeal, Rivera claims Circuit Judge Christopher Starck violated Illinois' rape shield law by allowing prosecutors to present testimony about past sexual experiences of the victim, Holly Staker.

Starck also should not have barred the defense from presenting testimony about false confessions, the appeal claims.

Rivera's first conviction in 1993 was overturned on appeal and Starck said he would allow a third trial because of advanced testing done on DNA taken from the girl's body.

Although it has been known since the start of the case that the DNA did not match Rivera, the sample has never been matched to anyone else.

No schedule has been set for the case to be heard by the appellate court.

CASA training:

Training for volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children is scheduled to begin Sept. 7.

The Court Appointed Special Advocates of Lake County provides volunteers who study and evaluate the conditions children are living in and make recommendations on their care to juvenile court judges.

The training sessions will be held from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until Oct. 7 at the CASA offices at 1020 Milwaukee Ave. in Deerfield.

For more information or an application, call CASA at (847) 808-9154.