$1M awarded to man wrongly accused of armed robbery

CHICAGO (STMW) - The wrongful prosecution of a man who spent two years in jail awaiting trial for an armed robbery he didn’t commit has cost the city $1 million, the Sun-Times is reporting.

The money was awarded Wednesday to Jermaine Durdin, 24, by a Cook County jury and will come at the expense of the city and one of the investigating detectives, court records show.

In the initial complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court in February 2013, Durdin alleged that the detective and three other officers “manipulated and/or tampered with identification evidence” that ultimately led to armed robbery charges to be filed against him.

Durdin’s attorney, Bill Foutris, said his client spent 23 months in the Cook County Jail before his trial. The only evidence against Durdin, Foutris said, was that he was picked out of a photo array and then a lineup. In May 2012, he was found not guilty.

The three officers who were initially named as defendants with the detective were found to have committed no wrongdoing, records show.

Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for the city’s Law Department, said the jury’s award likely stemmed from poor instructions and that the city plans to appeal.

“While we are disappointed in the jury’s decision, we believe it was the result of erroneous jury instructions, as well as other legal errors, and we intend to file a motion seeking a new trial,” McCaffrey said in an email Wednesday night.

Court records show that since the 2012 verdict, Durdin has been arrested several more times on charges that include gambling, reckless conduct and possession of a controlled substance.

The court awarded Durdin $300,000 for “The loss of normal life experienced and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future”; $50,000 for pain and suffering; and $650,000 for “The emotional distress experienced and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future.”

The detective who was found to be at fault could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

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