Chicago Man Wrongfully Accused of Armed Robbery Awarded $1 Million
Chicago will pay out $1 million to a man who was wrongfully prosecuted for armed robbery and spent two years sitting in jail for a crime he didn’t even commit, as reported by the Chicago-Sun Times.
On Wednesday, February 10th, a Cook County jury awarded 24-year-old Jermaine Durdin the money after his ordeal. The award will come from one of the detectives who investigated the case and the city itself, according to the court records.
The initial complaint in the case was filed in February of 2013 in the Cook County Circuit Court. In that complaint, Durdin stated that three officers and a detective tampered with and/or manipulated evidence involving his identification and that their actions ultimately led to the armed robbery charges he faced.
Durdin’s attorney said that his client spent a total of 23 months in jail before his trial, but the only evidence against him was that he was picked out of a lineup and photo array. He was found not guilty of the charges back in May of 2012. Court records show that the three officers who were named along with the detective as defendants in the lawsuit were found to have done nothing wrong.
City Plans Appeal
A spokesman for Chicago’s Law Department, Bill McCaffrey, spoke to the press and said the city would appeal. According to Bill McCaffrey’s statement, the city believes the award came from unspecified legal errors and poor jury instructions. The jury awarded Mr. Durdin $50,000 for his pain and suffering, $300,000 for loss of normal life, and $650,000 for his emotional distress.
Armed Robbery in Illinois
The armed robbery charges Mr. Durdin faced were very serious. In Illinois, any person who is accused of committing theft while carrying or discharging a firearm may be charged with armed robbery. It’s considered a Class X felony, which is the most serious felony in the state apart from first-degree murder and carries a potential sentence of life in prison with no chance of probation. Despite the minimal evidence, Mr. Durdin still spent close to two years in jail for a crime he was ultimately not convicted of committing because he was simply waiting for the chance to go to trial and prove his innocence.
Mr. Durdin’s case shows that the legal system is not the fastest and that sometimes local enforcement, despite their best efforts, will commit errors even when it comes to cases involving serious charges and very steep penalties.
If you or someone you care about is facing armed robbery or other serious charges in Illinois, contact a team of experienced Springfield IL criminal defense attorneys today. Seasoned attorneys can help you protect your rights and will work to ensure you’re treated as fairly as possible.