Chicago to pay $20.5 million to two men accused of being framed for a cop’s murder, with at least ten more on the way.
The city of Chicago agreed to pay $20.5 million to two of about a dozen men whose murder convictions were overturned after they were accused of being framed by the same police investigator.
To avoid a possible bigger payment in the event of a trial, the City Council voted to settle the lawsuits of Jose Montanez and Armando Serrano. A previous jail inmate who accused the same detective of framing him won a $21 million court victory in 2009.
In 2018, a jury awarded $17 million to a guy who claimed the detective had also framed him.
The city of Chicago’s legal department is unable to comment on active litigation, therefore there is no information on what will happen to the lawsuits filed against Reynaldo Guevara, the detective. The settlements for Serrano and Montanez could indicate that the city will cooperate in Guevara cases.
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According to Russell Ainsworth, an attorney for Montanez, the city should resolve the 11 pending cases involving Guevara based on what transpired in this case—a four-year legal battle that concluded in a judge ruling against the city by determining that the matter could go to trial.
He stated, “I hope they settle them before they rack up millions of dollars in legal bills.” “Unless the city resolves these cases, they will be subjected to trial after trial.”
The Chicago police department has been plagued by scandals, cover-ups, and brutality for decades.
Serrano and Montanez were released in 2016 after serving 23 years in jail. Guevara threatened to beat him if he didn’t confess, so a key witness in their case revealed that he lied about hearing them confess.
Guevara took the stand and asserted his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent when requested to react to the claims, as he had done in previous instances that resulted in acquittals.
In one case, after prosecutors granted him immunity, he repeatedly claimed that he didn’t remember confessions he got from two individuals who were eventually convicted of murder—a claim the judge dismissed as “bald-faced lying” before the confessions were thrown out.
Prosecutors have had to drop charges against several men in recent years because Guevara refused to answer questions in court or claimed he didn’t remember details of the case. This is a condensed version of the information.