The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to hear exoneree Alan Beaman’s arguments in his bid to bring to a jury his claims against the Town of Normal and three of its retired police officers.
In a two-sentence order issued Wednesday, the state’s high court granted Beaman’s request for a hearing.
In his lawsuit filed in McLean County in 2014, Beaman alleges the officers conspired with McLean County prosecutors to falsely accuse him of killing his former girlfriend, Jennifer Lockmiller of Decatur, who was found strangled in her apartment near Illinois State University where she was a student.
Beaman served 13 years in prison before the Illinois Supreme Court reversed his murder conviction in 2008.
After the state dropped the murder charges, Beaman sued the town and several police officers for malicious prosecution, accusing authorities of improperly focusing on him as a suspect and ignoring evidence pointing to several other possible suspects.
One of Beaman's lawyers said Wednesday that Beaman "deserves a trial before citizens of this state. Alan's adult life has been a tireless and unwavering fight for justice." David Shapiro said Beaman and his legal team are "gratified that the high court will consider this important and righteous case."
Normal's lawyer, Thomas DiCianni, said "we are completely puzzled by the Supreme Court's decision to review, once again, this case. We believe the appellate court correctly and carefully applied the Supreme Court's ruling in its last decision. Beyond that I have no further comment."
In 2016, Beaman's lawsuit was dismissed by a Sixth Judicial Circuit judge appointed to handle the case. The Fourth District Appellate court upheld the dismissal, but was forced to reconsider its ruling when the Supreme Court sent the case back to the appellate panel in February 2019.
After a second round of arguments, the Fourth District stood by its initial decision in a December 2019 ruling.
Beaman’s Chicago legal team requested the review by the Supreme Court. No date has been set for those arguments.