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ANY SESSIONS REQUIRING SEPARATE ADMISSION ARE NOTED, ALL OTHER SESSIONS ARE OPEN SEATING. (VIPs HAVE ACCESS TO SPECIAL SEATING IN THE GRAND BALLROOM AND BREAKOUT 1).
avatar for Nathson Fields

Nathson Fields

Nathson Fields is Illinois’ 19th Death Row Exoneree. In 1985, Fields and another man were charged with double murder. The description given of the two assailants was of two black men with light skin who were between the ages of 17 and 30. At the time of the murder, Fields was 30 years old and had dark skin.

Despite the irrefutable conflict in the evidence, Fields was convicted in a bench trial and sentenced to death row.

After 12 years of being beaten and tortured by guards, and watching men he knew marched to their own execution, Nate’s prayers were finally answered.

The judge who proceeded over Fields’ trial, Thomas Maloney, was indicted for accepting bribes in murder cases, including Fields’ case. The FBI concluded that Judge Maloney took a $10,000 bribe from the codefendant’s lawyer to throw the case.

When Maloney learned that the FBI discovered the bribe, he gave the money back in a desperate attempt to cover up the fact that he had convicted and wrongfully sentenced an innocent man to death by lethal injection.

Fields was given a new trial in front of a fair judge. He was found innocent after spending 18 years on death row for a crime that he did not commit.

Nate went on to represent himself in his certificate of innocence petition before the Chief Judge and won. He was compensated over $198,000 by the state.

Later, Fields filed a civil lawsuit against the police and after a record 3 trials won and was awarded $22 million dollars.

Nate's Work Today

Nate now lives in the Chicago area with his partner Maggie Parr. Following the not guilty verdict handed down by Judge Gaughan, Nate said, “I feel like my prayers have been answered... It’s been over 20 years of this ordeal for my family and my friends, and now with it coming to an end, it’s like a dream come true.”

Nate enjoys talking to college and church groups, and especially to teens. He was formerly the Board Chair of Witness to Innocence.