© 1998-2015 The Justice Institute -- (Justice Denied is a trade name of The Justice Institute)

© 1998-2016 The Justice Institute -- (Justice Denied is a trade name of The Justice Institute)

Juan Rivera


Juan Rivera was notified on March 24, 2005 that DNA tests had excluded him as the rapist/murderer of 11-year-old Holly Staker in Waukegan, Illinois in 1992. After being intensely interrogated for four days, police allege that the 20-year-old Juan confessed to Holly's rape and murder. Juan later testified that he had nothing to do with the crime, and that he had no memory of confessing and was coerced into signing the confession that the police admit they wrote. No physical evidence or eyewitnesses linked Juan to the crime, and an electronic bracelet he was wearing due to a burglary conviction established he was home at the time of the crime. However based solely on the alleged confession, Juan was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1993. After Juan's conviction and sentence were reversed in 1996 due to errors by the trial judge, he was again convicted in 1998 after a retrial and sentenced to life in prison. Juan was aided by the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law in having DNA tests performed on physical evidence left by Holly's attacker. Juan's lawyers have filed a Motion for a New Trial based on the exclusionary DNA test results.

New Trial Ordered For Juan Rivera on August 29, 2006!! Click here to read the Chicago Sun-Times' news story!

Juan Rivera is the husband of long-time Justice:Denied volunteer Melissa Sanders-Rivera, who has been actively aiding her husband.


Justice:Denied (Issue 27, Winter 2005) features five articles related to false confessions. They help explain how innocent people are victimized by modern police interrogation techniques that are designed to extract a confession without regard for its truth or falsity. Click here to go to the Table of Contents for Justice:Denied Issue 27. Click on the article you want to read, or read the entire issue in PDF format.