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$9,063,000 Jury Award For Illinois False Rape Conviction

by Matthew T. Clarke

On October 23, 2006, a federal jury in Illinois awarded a man who had been falsely convicted of rape $9,063,000.

On September 19, 1989, Alejandro Dominguez was a 16-year old living in an apartment complex in Waukegan, Illinois, when Lisa Kraus, 33, a resident of the same apartment complex reported that she had been attacked by three Hispanic men and raped by one of them who threatened her in English. Waukegan police officers Paul Hendley and John Moran investigated the report. They asked apartment complex security guard Richard McCandless if any Latinos lived in the complex. He replied that Dominguez lived there.

Despite the fact that he did not match her description of her assailant and did not speak English, they showed Kraus a photograph of Dominguez. She did not identify him as one of her assailants. Nonetheless, Hendley had McCandless bring Dominguez to the complex security office and conducted a ?show-up? (one-person line up) for Kraus. They told Kraus that Dominguez was ?the only suspect? and convinced her to identify him as her attacker and testify thusly at trial.

Dominguez was convicted of home invasion and aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to nine years in prison. After almost four years in prison, he was released on parole, but had to register as a sex offender.

After five years on parole, he missed a registration appointment, was jailed and charged with attempted failure to register as a sex offender. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years probation, 100 hours of community service and sex offender therapy. During the therapy, he was required to take a lie detector test, which showed he was telling the truth when he denied having committed the crime.

Three years later, in 2001, immigration officials initiated proceeding to deport Dominguez based upon his false conviction. Later that year, Dominguez was granted post-conviction DNA testing that conclusively proved his innocence. In 2002, a state judge overturned his home invasion, aggravated sexual assault and attempted failure to register as a sex offender convictions.

Dominguez filed suit in federal district court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the city, the police officers, the security guard and the rape victim, alleging the police, assisted by Kraus, conspired to falsely convict him of the crimes. The jury awarded Dominguez $9,063,000 against Hendley, now a retired police lieutenant. Dominguez was represented by Chicago attorneys Arthur Loevy, Jon Loevy, Michael Kanovitz and Mark Reyes. See: Dominguez v. Hendley, USDC ED IL, Case No. 04 C 2907.

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Related legal case

Dominguez v. Hendley