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City of Detroit Must Record Suspect Confessions; $4 Million Wrongful Incarceration Award

A Michigan federal district court has approved a settlement that requires the City of Detroit to record all interrogations of criminal suspects and awards the estate of a wrongfully convicted man $4,075,000.

The complaint in this action outlines a pattern of ?unconscionable deceptions? to deceive Eddie Joe Lloyd to confess to the 1984 rape and murder of a 16 year old girl and convince the court system the confession was truthfully and accurate. The deception was initiated by Detroit City police officer Thomas DeGalan.

When the body of Michelle Jackson was found in an abandoned garage in Detroit on January 25, 1984, it caused a public outcry over the ?school-girl rapes,? which resulted in 47 girls being raped on their way to school from September 1983 to February 1984.

Nine months after Jackson?s body was found, Lloyd wrote a letter to police from his psychiatric unit. He stated he would help in the investigation of Jackson?s death, saying he knew a bottle had been found in her vagina. In fact, one had been found in her rectum.

Lloyd had previously written police fifteen to seventeen letters saying he had information on the crime and perpetrator?s identity. They considered him a nuisance, but acted on the letter about Jackson?s death. Lloyd was held in at the Detroit Psychiatric Institute when police interviewed him. He was there with a diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder, exhibiting symptoms of grandiosity and flight of idea.

DeGalan interviewed Lloyd four times. He convinced Lloyd to confess and go to jail to ?help smoke out the real killer.? DeGalan then fed Lloyd information that police and the perpetrator had sole knowledge of. None of these contacts were recorded.

On October 26, 1984, DeGalan brought along Sgt. William Rice to witness the confession, which was taped. DeGalan also wrote out a confession that Lloyd signed. Based on that confession, a search warrant for Lloyd?s blood was obtained. Despite those testes being inconclusive, an arrest warrant was issued.

Lloyd proceeded to trial with an incompetent attorney. After Lloyd was convicted, the judge stated that the ?only justifiable sentence? would be ?termination by extreme contrition.? Lloyd was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. All his appeals failed.

In 1995, the Innocence Project took on Lloyd?s case. On August 26, 2002, he was released because DNA evidence exonerated him. Sadly, he died on September 22, 2004, of complications in his health that occurred from prison and his experience. His estate sued.

A June 22, 2006, settlement agreement requires the Detroit Police Department to make electronic video and audio recordings of all interrogations of any suspect in an investigation in a homicide case or that carries a possible life sentence without parole. Implementation is to be completed by January 1, 2006. The attornies in the case received $1,326,566.25 in attorney fees and $95,301.27 in costs. The remainder of the $4,075,000 is distributed to pay Lloyd?s debts and to his daughter, sister, and brother. See: In the Matter of the Estate of Eddie Joe Lloyd, USDC, EDMI, Case No: 0470922.

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Related legal case

In the Matter of the Estate of Eddie Joe Lloyd