Innocence Project client Dean Cage is expected to be released from a downstate Illinois prison late tonight after serving more than 12 years in Illinois prison for a rape that DNA now proves he didn’t commit. Charges against Cage have already been dismissed, and he will become the 217th person exonerated by DNA evidence when he is released. He will speak at a press conference tomorrow in Chicago with his family and attorneys.
Cage’s wrongful conviction is another case of eyewitness misidentification due to flawed procedures. In November of 1994, a 15-year-old girl was abducted on her way to school and raped by an African-American man. She worked with police to create a composite sketch of the perpetrator, and police received a tip a week later that a man matching the sketch worked at a meat-packing plant nearby. Officers brought the victim to the meat-packing plant and asked her if she recognized the perpetrator. She pointed to Dean Cage and later identified him based on the sound of his voice. The officer leading the rape investigation also conducted the identification procedure. Research and experience have shown that the risk of misidentification is sharply reduced if the police officer administering a photo or live lineup is not aware of who the suspect is.
Tomorrow’s press conference will be held at 1:30 p.m. CST at the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, 750 N. Lakeshore Dr., 8th Floor, Chicago (entrance on Superior St.).
Read today's Innocence Project press advisory on Cage's case
. We’ll post more on the blog tomorrow after Cage is released.