IL Jury Gives Ex-Gang Member $22M for Wrongful Conviction

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Two years ago, a federal jury in Chicago handed a mere $80,000 to a wrongfully convicted ex-El Rukn gang member who spent more than a decade on Death Row only to be cleared of a double murder. Nathson Fields called it a “travesty” at the time and he called for a federal investigation. A judge ordered a do-over within a year because another former gang member had gone free under suspicious circumstances. The case went to trial again last month. Yesterday, a jury came back with a new verdict in Fields’ case against the city and Chicago detectives David O’Callaghan and Joseph Murphy. This time, it handed Fields $22 million, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. “Through his own hard work and good fortune and good luck along the way, (Fields) was able to exonerate himself,” said Jon Loevy, Fields’ attorney.

Fields, who was slated to be executed twice while in prison, said he hopes his exoneration could give hope to others who have been wrongly convicted. “I stand before you as the living proof that there’s other men in prison for things they didn’t do,” Fields said. “I hope my case will be the catalyst to bring all this the light and to bring many innocent men and women home to their family.” Chicago law department spokesman Bill McCaffrey suggested Fields’ legal fight isn’t over. “We are disappointed … and will be appealing the jury’s verdict,” McCaffrey said.

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