The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday from a man trying to sue the police for wrongfully convicting him.
Alan Beaman of Rockford spent 13 years in prison for the 1993 murder of Jennifer Lockmiller, an Illinois State University student. Now that the courts have granted him a certificate of actual innocence, Beaman wants the detectives to be liable for framing him.
Thomas DiCianni, the lawyer representing the Town of Normal and the former officers, told the court one shouldn’t be able to sue officers for simply doing their jobs.
“That’s never been the law here—this court and all the courts in Illinois have never extended it that far and they shouldn’t,” DiCianni said. “And the reason, your honor, I would say, it’s horrible public policy.”
Lower courts sided with the officers and dismissed the lawsuit.
Beaman and his attorneys say a win before the Supreme Court could help prevent officer misconduct and future wrongful convictions.
“This case is bigger than me, it’s about what kind of state we want to be and whether we want to tolerate official misconduct,” Beaman said.
Beaman was a 21-year-old theater student at Illinois Wesleyan University at the time of Lockmiller’s killing.
There’s no timeline for when the justices might issue a decision in the case.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Thomas DiCianni's last name.
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