Pollock Asks for Innocence

February  24, 2014

      Even though she had her murder conviction reversed and was released from prison, a Henry County woman's long legal battle is not over. On Tuesday, lawyers for Tabitha Pollock will ask the Third District Appellate Court in Ottawa for a "certificate of innocence."

      In 1996, Pollock was convicted of murder by accountability - that she knew or should have known about the abuse of her daughter by her live-in boyfriend, Scott English. Now she would like to sue the state of Illinois for the time she spent in prison.

      Henry County State's Attorney Terry Patton says Pollock can't sue the state unless she can convince the courts she was innocent of any crime in connection with the death of her child. The Illinois Supreme Court has said "not guilty" is not the same as innocent. 

      "Juries are not asked to find defendants guilty or innocent. They're asked to decide if the evidence proves the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. And if the evidence doesn't prove their guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they're found not guilty. That doesn't necessarily mean they didn't do it - that just means there wasn't enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt they did it."

      A judge in Henry County turned down her request after Patton argued, as he will Tuesday, that 3 year old Jamie Sue Pollock suffered a huge number of injuries at the hands of English, and that Pollock was so suspicious she asked family members what they thought about the situation. 

      She was released from prison in 2002 after the Illinois Supreme Court threw out her conviction. Scott English is serving a 50 year sentence for murder.