“This morning, after consulting with top members of my staff, I have decided not to proceed with a retrial against Randy Liebich, who was found guilty and sentenced to sixty-five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the February 8, 2002, First-Degree Murder of two-year-old Steven Quinn.
On July 16, 2004, following a bench trial, Mr. Liebich was found guilty of First Degree Murder. Mr. Liebich appealed the conviction and on December 12, 2007, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District affirmed the conviction. Mr. Liebich filed a postconviction petition in which he asserted, in part, that his trial counsel was ineffective. Mr. Liebich’s claims of ineffective assistance of counsel centered around medical testimony regarding the timing of injuries the boy had suffered in relation to his time spent with Mr. Liebich. The trial court denied Mr. Liebich’s petition. On March 28, 2016, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, reversed and remanded the matter for a third stage evidentiary hearing finding that the ‘trial court erred in dismissing defendant’s postconviction claims of ineffective assistance of counsel concerning the handling of medical evidence.’ In their ruling, the Appellate Court noted that material submitted by Mr. Liebich in his appeal ‘concerning medical issues is not new for the purposes of an actual-innocence argument and that counsel was ineffective for failing to present such evidence’ and consequently ‘we reverse the trial court’s dismissal of the defendant’s allegations that he received ineffective assistance of counsel with respect to the medical issues, which includes evidence from both fact and expert witnesses.’ In their ruling, the Appellate Court also stated Liebich’s attorneys ‘failed to either investigate, comprehend, or present the aforementioned scientific evidence that a reasonable exercise of diligence would have made available for defendant’s defense. Not doing so was patently unreasonable, and we have no difficulty in concluding (again, accepting defendant’s allegations) that it undermines our confidence in the outcome of the trial.’
On September 14, 2018, following a lengthy evidentiary hearing, Judge John Kinsella granted the post-conviction petition and ordered a new trial. In his ruling, Judge Kinsella noted that ‘I’m finding that counsels failed to consider and pursue legitimate and reasonably-available medical evidence which would, if believed, create a reasonable doubt.’ Judge Kinsella also stated that ‘There is an abundance of evidence that the outcome of this trial could have been different if the Defendant had called all the medical experts to testify at his hearing.’
Most recently, I am in receipt of a letter dated February 16, 2019, from Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, MD, PhD, the forensic pathologist who conducted Steven Quinn’s autopsy. In her letter, Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan states that ‘Steven Quinn’s death did not occur through actions taken on February 8, the day Steven was admitted to the hospital. Steven Quinn died from abdominal injuries that were present at least two days before hospital admission. Some were older. It continues to be my opinion that Steven died from inflicted blunt force injures. These injuries occurred days before hospital admission, with some occurring earlier. Steven was a chronically mistreated child.’
In evaluating the current status of this case I must consider all of the testimony from the post-conviction hearing as well as Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan’s letter, in addition to the evidence from Mr. Liebich’s trial. Based on Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan’s letter and my review of all the medical testimony presented at the post-conviction hearing, I have determined that my office cannot, at this time, meet our burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. While the evidence supports the fact that Steven Quinn died as a result of inflicted blunt force injuries, the evidence is insufficient to prove Randy Liebich guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. My decision today does not mean Randy Liebich is innocent, simply that my office cannot ethically proceed to a retrial based on the evidence we currently have. The Sheriff’s Office and my office will continue to investigate this case in an effort to obtain sufficient admissible evidence to hold the person or persons who inflicted Steven Quinn’s fatal injuries responsible.”