CHICAGO (SUN TIMES MEDIA WIRE) - Two men filed lawsuits against the city on Monday after being released from prison in separate cases that unraveled when evidence surfaced indicating they had been framed by Chicago Police officers, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
Armando Serrano spent 23 years in prison for the 1993 murder of Rodrigo Vargas in Humboldt Park, a case that was investigated by Det. Reynaldo Guevara.
The other suit filed Monday was by Lionel White, whose 2006 drug conviction was vacated in December when attorneys showed he was arrested while disgraced former CPD Sgt. Ronald Watts was being investigated for corruption.
Serrano and co-defendant Jose Mantanez, who has not filed a lawsuit, were released last summer when a judge vacated their 55-year sentences after an Illinois Appellate Court ruling that Guevara had coerced the two main witnesses in the case to testify against them.
In another case handled by Guevara, Roberto Almodovar was released from prison last week after serving 23 years in prison for murder.
White claims Watts and a patrol officer broke into his girlfriend’s apartment without a warrant, beat him and planted heroin on him. White spent more than two years in prison before a judge tossed the conviction.
Watts, who supervised officers at the Ida B. Wells housing complex on the South Side, was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison in 2013 for ripping off a drug courier who was an FBI informant. Cook County state’s attorney Kim Foxx agreed in February to look into hundreds of convictions that relied on evidence from Watts and his underlings.
A spokesman for the city’s law department said he had not yet been served with the lawsuits, and declined to comment on Monday evening. Attorneys for Guevara and Watts could not immediately be reached for comment.
Serrano and White are seeking an unspecified amount in damages.