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Wrongfully Convicted Man: Illinois Supreme Court Should Hear Civil Case

The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center has filed a petition asking the Illinois Supreme Court to hear the civil rights case brought by Alan Beaman, who served 13 years in prison after being falsely convicted of murder.

In 2008, Beaman was more than a dozen years into a 50-year sentence for the 1993 murder of Jennifer Lockmiller when the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously reversed the conviction and the State's Attorney dropped all charges. Mr. Beaman subsequently received a certificate of innocence and official pardon from the Governor. Beaman is now asking the Illinois Supreme Court for the opportunity to move forward with his civil suit.

"Alan Beaman spent his youth behind bars for a crime he could not have committed," said Locke Bowman, executive director of the MacArthur Justice Center. "Mr. Beaman deserves his day in court, before a jury, to seek justice from the men who conducted a dishonest and blatantly biased investigation that robbed him of his youth."

The case alleges that from the first day of the investigation into Ms. Lockmiller's murder, the defendants labeled Beaman the "primary suspect" despite no concrete evidence tying him to the crime and significant evidence of other, more likely, suspects.

Beaman asserts that investigators ignored or pushed aside other possible suspects, including a man who was in an on-off relationship with the victim and, unlike Beaman, had motive, opportunity and a violent history towards women.

When this man was brought in for questioning, he failed to comply with the polygrapher when asked if he was the killer. The polygraph report went missing; it was never given to the prosecutor or defense.

"Without the completely baseless, biased investigation conducted by the defendants, Mr. Beaman would not have been indicted, tried and convicted," said Bowman. "All he is seeking now is an opportunity for a jury to hear the truth."

The Illinois Supreme Court filing argues that the case has important implications for holding police accountable when they cause wrongful convictions.

"The Supreme Court should hear this case because it is profoundly important not only for Mr. Beaman but for all wrongfully convicted people in a state notorious for jaundiced investigations and wrongful convictions," said David Shapiro, appellate director of the MacArthur Justice Center.

Malicious prosecution claims have become a cornerstone of police misconduct litigation. In 2016, Illinois ranked second among all states for wrongful convictions that resulted in exonerations. The Court's ruling could provide important guidance to lower courts about when police officers should be held liable for wrongful convictions.

Beaman has repeatedly sought to bring forth his civil suit since his exoneration.

He originally brought forth a lawsuit in federal court, which ruled in favor to the defendants on Beaman's federal law claims.

Beaman's current action originated in the Circuit Court of McLean County in April 2014, which rejected the state law claims. The complaint names the Town of Normal, Illinois and three of its former police officers as defendants.

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See also: Jim Dey: Monetary Damages Elusive For Wrongly Convicted Man.

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And: The Wrongful Conviction Of Alan Beaman:

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on September 10, 2017


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