News 05.27.08

DNA Testing Proves Chicago Man’s Innocence in 1994 Rape


Fully Exonerated, Dean Cage and His Attorneys Will Speak at a Press Conference Wednesday, May, 28, at 1:30 in Chicago

(CHICAGO, IL; May 27, 2008) – DNA tests prove that Innocence Project client Dean Cage did not commit the 1994 Chicago rape for which he has served more than 12 years in prison. Today, Cage’s conviction was vacated and the case against him was dismissed. He is expected to be released from state prison late tonight, and he will speak at a press conference tomorrow afternoon in Chicago with his family and attorneys.

In November 1994, a 15-year-old girl was raped on her way to school in Chicago. Cage was convicted in 1996 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. He was convicted based largely on the victim’s eyewitness misidentification. The victim helped police prepare a composite sketch of her attacker, which was circulated in the neighborhood where the crime occurred. When police received a tip that a man resembling the sketch worked at a local meat market, they took the victim to the market and she identified Cage. Later, at the police station, the victim identified Cage based on the sound of his voice.

The police detective who ran the investigation of the rape also handled the eyewitness identification procedures. 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.

The Cook County State Attorney’s office agreed to conduct DNA testing in the case and cooperated on the testing. DNA testing on the rape kit and clothing worn by the victim shows that Cage was not the perpetrator.

Wednesday, Cage, his relatives and his attorneys will speak to reporters in Chicago. Following are logistical details for tomorrow’s press conference:


Who:

Dean Cage, exonerated by DNA testing after serving more than 12 years in prison for a rape he did not commit;

Peter Neufeld, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law;

Alba Morales, Staff Attorney at the Innocence Project;

Karen Daniel, Staff Attorney at the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law;

Rob Warden, Director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law.


What:

Press conference on Dean Cage’s exoneration and statewide reforms in Illinois that can help prevent future injustice.


Where:

Center on Wrongful Convictions, Northwestern University School of Law, 750 North Lakeshore Drive, 8th Floor, Chicago


When:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008; 1:30 p.m.

The Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law, represents Cage. The Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University is co-counsel on the case. The law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges provided pro bono assistance on the case. Orchid-Cellmark handled DNA testing in the case.

Cage is the 217th person in the United States – and the 29th person in Illinois – exonerated through post-conviction DNA testing.


For press conference Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Contact: Eric Ferrero; eferrero@innocenceproject.org; 212-364-5346

Adelia Harrison; aharrison@innocenceproject.org; 212-364-5983

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