Josh Tepfer, EP Attorney
October 17th, 2022
On Thursday afternoon I watched my 14-year-old daughter’s final Freshman year tennis match. Up until this year’s tennis team, my daughter had never been a serious athlete. But in the beginning of this calendar year she decided she wanted to be on the high school tennis team and started focusing on it. She really improved dramatically, and during Thursday’s doubles match against a team that could play, she was not only clearly the best player on the court, but you could tell she knew it. They won handily. My daughter is about the kindest person I know—and she remained that way—but it was great to see her have that quiet confidence to close out an awesome freshman year of tennis.
On Saturday night, after rushing around to various kid activities all evening, I ran to catch my 8-year-old daughter in her duet dance performance for the Spooky Halloween show. This one is a performer. And it was more of the same—so much pride and confidence while on stage. It was really wonderful to see.
And then Sunday morning my 11-year-old son and I ran the Oak Park Frank Lloyd Wright 5k together—his first ever 5k. He ran the whole time—most of which while we were side by side and we sprinted to the finish line together. It is hard to really articulate how much I enjoyed that. The whole experience was peak happiness for me.
Around mile 2 of this run, I started thinking about all this stuff with my kids. I mean, this is what life is about—at least for me. This is really everything to me.
And then my thoughts turned to some of my clients. For some time now I have been wanting to write a post about my exonerated client (from April 2022) Daniel Rodriguez. I’ve gotten some time in the last year or two to get to know not just Daniel but his family, including his two daughters who were just babies when corrupt Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara framed Daniel. I mean Daniel’s daughters just adore their Dad—it is palpable. This WGN story gives a taste of it. Of course, Daniel adores them, too, and now their children. It is a beautiful tight knit, supportive family. But I had no deep thoughts beyond that so what was the point of writing about that.
Then I started thinking about some of the other Guevara-victim who also had young children when Guevara kidnapped them and sent them away. People like Geraldo Iglesias, who I’ve seen briefly with his adult son and often with his son’s son. Or Juan Hernandez, who I got to watch hug his adult son for the first time after two decades of wrongful incarceration the moment he walked out of prison. There are other clients, too, that I’ve gotten to watch with their children, and I always really enjoy that.
In different ways, Daniel, Geraldo, and Juan remind me a lot of myself. It makes me angry that these men—these fathers—were cheated out of the moments I got these last few days with my children with their own. Guevara stole that. His enablers stole that. No certificate of innocence, or lawsuit, or money can get that back.
These guys are all living good lives. They are resilient, strong people and have tons of people who care about them. I know their experiences likely have taught them to appreciate the same types of moments that I stopped to appreciate these last few days. And I like to think that maybe I have been able to stop and appreciate them more because of them—because of being able to witness their relationships with their families. So thanks to all of them for allowing me into their lives, which in turn has made my life all the better.