SYCAMORE – A pair of Chicago attorneys will represent Jack McCullough in his quest to be released from prison.
On Wednesday, DeKalb County Associate Judge William Brady appointed conflict attorney Bob Nolan to represent McCullough for the remainder of his post-conviction proceedings. However, attorneys Gabriel Fuentes and Shaun Van Horn also came forward Wednesday seeking to represent McCullough, and Nolan is no longer required to work on his behalf, court records show.
Fuentes and Van Horn met with DeKalb County State’s Attorney Richard Schmack on Wednesday at the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore.
Both lawyers declined to comment on their involvement in the case and on their reason for meeting with Schmack, who recently filed documents claiming that McCullough, 76, was wrongfully convicted in 2012 of the 1957 murder of 7-year-old Sycamore girl Maria Ridulph. McCullough wants the courts to vacate his conviction and free him from prison, where he is serving a life sentence at the Pontiac Correctional Center.
McCullough will next be in court April 15 to set a timeline for the conclusion of his petition for post-conviction relief. The judge cannot make any rulings, however, until McCullough has had a chance to talk to a lawyer.
Van Horn and Fuentes work for Chicago-based law firm Jenner & Block, which partners with more than 500 lawyers and has been lauded for its pro bono work. Fuentes is a trial lawyer and former assistant U.S. attorney. He is member of the American Bar Association, former chairman of the Pro Bono Committee at Jenner & Block and former president of the Chicago Council of Lawyers.
Van Horn specializes in competition law and intellectual property, with pro bono experience representing criminal defendants before the Illinois state and federal courts.
To be released from prison, McCullough must file a motion to vacate his conviction, Schmack said.
No such request has been filed.
Schmack has said he does not plan to file anything else.