Crime: Chicago to pay $9M to man wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years

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A Chicago man, who spent 25 years in prison after he was allegedly coerced to falsely confess to a murder he says he did not commit, will be paid $9 million by the City Council. According to WTTW, the investigation into the 1991 shooting death of Edward Porter – for which Patrick Prince was convicted – was overseen by a Chicago Police detective accused of usually framing suspects.

The money awarded to Prince was unanimously approved by the Chicago City Council’s Finance Committee on Monday. The city council met on Wednesday to hold a final vote for the settlement.

Prince was 19 when he was handed a 60-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of first-degree murder. He was convicted in 1994. But Prince said Chicago Police Detective Kriston Kato forced him to falsely confess to the murder. The confession allegedly came after the detective physically assaulted Prince while he was in handcuffs.

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In 2017, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office moved to drop the charges against Prince after a judge granted him a new trial, per WTTW. He was released shortly after.

“This is a case that arose during the times, thinking, sentiments, customs and practices of the 1990s,” Cook County Circuit Court Judge Thaddeus Wilson said at the time. “Petitioner (Prince) was just 19 years old. There were no eyewitnesses to the actual shooting that testified at trial. No physical evidence connected (Prince) to the crime. No forensic evidence connects (Prince) to the crime. The only evidence against (Prince) was his confession.”

“Allegations and findings of past misconduct by police during questioning of suspects are now at an unprecedented high and we now better understand the psychology of false confessions,” Wilson added. “To ensure substantial justice be done, defendant should be granted a new trial.”

State officials also granted Prince a certificate of innocence. That decision was based on testimonies from four witnesses who claimed a different man fatally shot Porter.

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