'Dixmoor 5' men will receive settlement from ISP - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

'Dixmoor 5' men will receive settlement from ISP

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The Illinois State Police has agreed to pay a settlement to five men who were wrongly convicted in the 1991 slaying of 14-year-old Cateresa Matthews in Dixmoor.

"Today brings a little bit of justice to our respective clients," said one lawyer.

The settlement with ISP stems from a lawsuit filed in 2012 seeking damages for the wrongful convictions, according to a statement from Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law.

"What Cooperstown is to baseball, Chicago and Cook County has been to false confessions. It is not the Hall of Fame but the Hall of Shame," said Dixmoor 5 Attorney Peter Neufeld.

The lawsuit alleged ISP and Dixmoor police officers unconstitutionally coerced false confessions leading to the convictions, the statement said. It is the single largest settlement for a wrongful conviction case in Illinois.

"Sometimes police cross the line and coerce confessions that are not true. As in this case where five teenage boys confessed to a crime they did not commit," said Dixmoor 5 Attorney Jon Loevy.

Illinois taxpayers will be paying $40 million to the Dixmoor 5, and their lawyers, to settle their case.

Each member of the 'Dixmoor 5' served between 10 and 19 years in prison and was eventually granted certificates or innocence by the state, the Southtown Star reported at the time. Charges against the five men were withdrawn in 2011. They were all teenagers, between 14 and 16 years old, at the time of their conviction.

However, Wednesday's announcement doesn't end the case. The 2012 suit also named the Village of Dixmoor, which “has not agreed to settlement terms,” according to the statement.

Dixmoor has been teetering on bankruptcy for years.

"Dixmoor did its best to lose the evidence in this case, which eventually turned out to be exculpatory. So, we think it's important to continue the case against Dixmoor to hold them to account. We undertand it's not a rich suburb," said Dixmoor 5 Attorney John Stainthorp.

FOX 32's Dane Placko contributed to this story.

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