A Cook County judge Wednesday ordered former Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara to testify under oath about allegations he beat confessions out of two men who say they were wrongfully convicted in a 1998 double-murder.
After a hour-long hearing, Judge James Obbish ruled that Guevara – who has asserted his Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer questions about his interrogations of Gabriel Solache and Arturo DeLeon-Reyes – will take the stand in October to answer questions about the case under a grant of immunity from prosecutors.
Guevara will be subpoenaed to testify as soon as Oct. 17, in a hearing that will likely see the courtroom gallery filled with defense lawyers and civil rights attorneys who have clients who claim they were framed by Guevara during his three decades as a gang detective on the Northwest Side.
Prosecutors maintained that only Guevara’s testimony can refute Solache and DeLeon-Reyes’ claims that they were beaten by Guevara until they confessed to the murders of Mariano and Jacinta Soto, and an offer of “use immunity” will prevent state or federal prosecutors from using Guevara’s time on the stand as the basis for criminal charges against him— so long as Guevara does not lie under oath.
Solache claims that Guevara coerced his confession, then acted as translator when Solache gave a statement ins Spanish to a prosecutor.
“Only two people know exactly what Mr. Solache said,” during the 1998 interrogation and confession, Obbish said. “One is Mr. Solache, the other is Detective Guevara.”
Obbish said Guevara would have to answer questions put to him by prosecutors, and if Guevara continued to assert his Fifth Amendment rights on the stand despite prosecutors’ immunity pledge, the judge said he would take “appropriate action,” likely meaning he would find Guevara in contempt of court.
It still was unclear what Guevara might do. Guevara’s lawyer, citing the example of former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge’s prosecution for perjury, argued that despite the immunity deal, Guevara would be putting himself at risk of facing criminal no matter what he said on the stand.
“He can’t answer questions and I can’t in good faith tell him to,” defense attorney Will Fahy said.