October 25, 2012
In 1991, five teens were tried and convicted of the rape and murder of fourteen-year-old Cateresa Matthews. After three of the five teens served 19 years in prison, and two others served 10 years, DNA evidence proved their innocence. The true killer is a convicted sex offender with no connection to Robert Taylor, Jonathan Barr, James Harden, Shainne Sharp or Robert Veal, the five who were convicted of the crime. The innocent men filed a federal lawsuit for wrongful conviction, alleging they were framed by crooked police officers. See docket numbers 1:12CV08327 and 1:12-cv-08349. Also try a search in the Northern District of Illinois docket collection for: ptn(dixmoor) and fld(2012)
Specifically, the men claim the Dixmoor Police and the Illinois State Police coerced confessions, withheld evidence and fabricated witness testimony. According to the suit, police were aware of DNA evidence excluding the men but withheld it from defense attorneys. As enumerated in Brady v. Maryland (373 U.S. 83, 87):
“…the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution.”
The suit also claims at least one of the five men was beaten by an officer as a means of coercing a confession. Paragraph 47 of the Barr complaint reads:
Later on the day of October 29, 1992, then 15-year-old Robert Taylor was interrogated …under similar circumstances to the interrogation of Robert Veal. Defendant Officers physically abused, yelled at, threatened, and coerced Robert Taylor into making a statement that falsely implicated himself, Jonathan Barr, James Harden, Shainne Sharp, and Robert Veal in the crime.
Past cases comparable to the Dixmoor Five suit have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements. Unfortunately, time lost cannot be recovered and suffering endured cannot be undone.
For additional materials pertaining to this issue, the following searches may be run on WestlawNext:
“wrongful! convict!” /p police officer “law enforcement” /p prison incarcerat! /p withh*ld! /3 evidence
Content: Cases (10 results); Secondary Sources (11 results)
Jurisdiction: All State & Federal
“wrongful! convict!” /p incarcerat! imprison! prison!
Content: Jury Verdicts & Settlements (26 results)
Jurisdiction: All Federal