It should have told Will County, Illinois, not frame anybody for the rape and murder of that anybody's daughter. Either go bankrupt or properly train your police force.
By Steve Schmadeke
But damages are reduced to $8 million from $12.2 million
An appeals court Wednesday agreed with a federal jury's 2007 finding that Will County police framed _____ for the rape and murder of his 3-year-old daughter Riley, but reduced the damages awarded to _____ and his wife from $12.2 million to $8 million.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals chastised the investigators on the case, implying that their decision to quickly rule out Riley's 2004 death as the work of a sexual predator was "absurd."
The court, in a 52-page decision by Judge Terence Evans, also found that detectives lacked probable cause to arrest _____ using the "exceedingly weak evidence" they had assembled.
_____ was arrested four months after the death of his daughter, who was sexually assaulted, bound with duct tape and drowned in a Wilmington creek. _____ gave police a videotaped confession that he said was fabricated. The videotape was not shown during the civil trial.
Shortly after _____'s arrest, Edward Hayes, a detective supervisor, called the FBI and told them to stop testing DNA evidence, trial evidence showed. Testing by a private lab later ruled out _____ as a suspect, and he was released in 2005 after eight months behind bars.
On Wednesday, the appeals court upheld the 2007 jury verdict, but found that its awards for _____'s false-arrest claim and his wife Melissa's claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress were excessive.
The jury's original award of $15.5 million in damages had already been reduced.
"We thought it was a stunning rebuke of the defendant's entire case," said Kathleen Zellner, the _____' attorney. "I don't think we could have got a better result."
Zellner said the couple still live in Will County with their teenage son and a daughter who recently turned 4.
In a statement, the Will County state's attorney's office said it was pleased that the damages were reduced but "firmly" believes the deputies had probable cause to arrest _____ and should not be liable for any damages.
No other arrests have been made in the case, which is being handled by Will County with help from the FBI.
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