Wrongly Imprisoned Man Will Receive Settlement from City


Chicago, IL—A man who was wrongly imprisoned for a quarter of a century has been awarded a settlement by the city of Chicago, just days before a trial was scheduled to begin.

Jerry Miller, who was convicted of raping a woman in a parking garage in 1981, was released from prison in 2006, and pardoned in 2008, after DNA testing exonerated him. In his lawsuit, he alleged that a crime lab analyst withheld evidence in his original trial which would have changed its outcome, had it been presented.

Miller asserted that he should have been excluded as a suspect during the rape case’s initial investigation, since serological testing which could identify a suspect’s blood type—a form of genetic analysis that predated DNA testing—would have showed that his blood type did not match that of the rapist.

According to one of Miller’s attorneys, serological testing is able to identify blood type in approximately 80% of males, including both Miller and Robert Weeks, who was eventually tied to the crime. A semen sample acquired from the 1981 rape revealed that the perpetrator had type O blood, the same as Weeks—but different than Miller, who has type B blood.

The analyst at the crime lab, Raymond Lenz, allegedly failed to report the entire results of the test, including the fact that type B antigens were not present in the semen sample, to prosecutors during Miller’s trial. The crime lab has since been taken over by the Illinois State Police, in 1996.

Had Lenz reported this information, it would have ruled out Miller as a suspect. An expert for the plaintiff, Dr. Edward Blake, said that Lenz’s statement that the test was inconclusive was not only incorrect, but also contradicted Lenz’s earlier assertions that the semen stain was ideally suited to the testing in question and would reveal a conclusive result.

The lawsuit brought by Miller, now 51, had been slated to begin on Monday, but a spokesperson for the City of Chicago’s Law Department, did confirm that the case had settled, pending City Council approval.

One source said that the terms of the settlement would likely cost the city millions of dollars.


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