Karen Daniel

Karen Daniel was an Oak Parker and a noted attorney who spent the past 20 years advocating for those wrongfully convicted and jailed.

Daniel, 62, was killed the morning of Dec. 26 as she walked with her dog in the 400 block of Pleasant Street near Scoville Avenue. She was struck by a Ford F150 pickup truck, which reportedly was turning east from Scoville Avenue onto Pleasant Street. Daniel was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the truck, who has not yet been identified by police, is a 63-year-old Oak Park man. While the driver passed field sobriety tests and submitted to blood and urine testing, he was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to yield to a pedestrian. 

Daniel, a graduate of Harvard Law School, joined the teaching faculty of the Northwestern University Center on Wrongful Convictions in 2000. Initially she worked part time for the project but eventually became a co-director. She retired from Northwestern in 2019 when she was named director emerita of the project. 

According to the Chicago Tribune, Daniel planned to join the Exoneration Project at the University of Chicago in January. She was also, the newspaper reported, planning to work with the Northwestern Prison Education Program.

Kim Foxx, Cook County state’s attorney, issued a statement on Daniel’s death via Twitter. 

She wrote, “Karen was as brilliant as she was caring. She was a teacher, a mentor, an advocate and an exceptional attorney. Karen was a true believer in justice and brought a unique spirit to this work that will be deeply missed.” 

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Dan Haley

Dan was one of the three founders of Wednesday Journal in 1980. He’s still here as its four flags – Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark – make...