In what is believed to be one of the most substantial verdicts in the city's history, a federal jury on Tuesday awarded $25 million in damages to a man wrongfully convicted, as a teenager, of murder and forced to serve 16 years in prison.
Thaddeus Jimenez, now 32, was exonerated and released from prison in May 2009, according to the Chicago Tribune.
After being granted a certificate of innocence, Jimenez sued the city, accusing police of ignoring the evidence his attorneys presented them, showing that another man had confessed to the slaying he had been charged with. Though no physical evidence reportedly linked him to the crime, police allegedly coerced eyewitnesses into saying Jimenez had killed Eric Morro, 19, the Associated Press reports.
Jimenez was tried and convicted twice before he was sentenced to serve 45 years in prison. He is believed to be the youngest person in Illinois history -- and perhaps in the entire country -- to have been convicted of murder and then fully exonerated, according to a statement from his attorneys.
Juan Carlos Torres, of Indiana, was charged with Morro's murder the day Jimenez was released from prison and is now awaiting trial.
The city could now appeal the verdict. Roderick Drew, a spokesman for the city's Department of Law, said they "are very disappointed with the decision. ... We will be exploring all available options," according to CBS Chicago.
Jon Loevy, Jimenez's attorney, praised the state's attorney's office because he said they "recognized an injustice had occurred and they corrected it," according to the Tribune.
"They deserve a ton of credit for reopening the case … taking an honest look at it and correcting an injustice," Loevy continued.
Last December, Jimenez was convicted on drug possession charges and could serve up to three years in prison. He is due to be sentenced on the drug charges Feb. 1, according to CBS.
BEFORE YOU GO
WATCH a report from Northwestern University's Center On Wrongful Convictions on Jimenez's exoneration: