Skip to content

Jury awards $25 million to Chicago man in wrongful murder conviction

Standing with his attorneys in the lobby of the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse after the jury's decision, Eddie Bolden, 51, teared up as he said he could barely find words to describe what he felt.

Chicago Journal
Chicago Journal
| 2 min read
Jury awards $25 million to Chicago man in wrongful murder conviction

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal jury on Friday awarded more than $25 million to a man who sued the city of Chicago and two police detectives after being wrongfully convicted of murder and spending nearly 23 years in jail.



Eddie Bolden was freed from prison in 2016, two years after an appellate court found his trial attorney was ineffective. The Cook County state's attorney's office dropped the case rather than put Bolden on trial again and he was granted a certificate of innocence, allowing him to receive state payment for his time in prison.

But attorneys for the city and detectives argued during the federal trial that Bolden's criminal trial was fair and that he's guilty of the 1994 murders.

A spokesperson said Chicago's Law Department "is reviewing the verdict and is assessing its legal options."

Jurors ordered the city to pay $25 million in compensatory damages, and the two surviving police detectives to pay $100,000 in punitive damages. The Chicago Tribune reports that the total award tops the $25 million verdict given to Thaddeus Jimenez in 2012, and is believed to be the highest award in a wrongful conviction case in Chicago.[1]

Bolden's lawsuit alleged that he was framed in the killings of 24-year-old Derrick Frazier and 23-year-old Irving Clayton. Bolden's attorney, Ron Safer, told jurors that police had no evidence that he was involved in the drug deal that led to the killings.

Safer argued that Bolden was the only man put in a police lineup who matched the physical description a witness provided, and that detectives ignored other key evidence.

"I think the jury recognized that he was victimized by a system that unfortunately has victimized people for too long, and they want it to stop," Safer said after the decision.

Attorneys for the city and the detectives argued that Bolden had connections to a high-ranking gang member who had leverage over the witnesses claiming Bolden had an alibi, giving police good reason to distrust them.

Standing with his attorneys in the lobby of the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse after the jury's decision, Bolden, 51, teared up as he said he could barely find words to describe what he felt.

"Finally," he said. "It's all I can say right now."



Chicago Journal Official Merchandise


Notes & References


  1. Meisner, J. (2021, October 29). Federal jury awards $25.2 million to Chicago man wrongfully convicted in 1994 double murder in possible record verdict. chicagotribune.com. Retrieved October 30, 2021, from https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/criminal-justice/ct-chicago-police-wrongful-conviction-lawsuit-verdict-eddie-bolden-20211029-oj7wm5vadzeazmndcdsscyscni-story.html. ↩︎

LawNewsChicago News

Chicago Journal Twitter

The Chicago Journal is a general interest, digital publication focused on the political, cultural, and economic issues relevant to the city of Chicago and the surrounding metro area.


Related Posts

Fire causes $1.25m in damage at historic Illinois mansion

A fire at the historic Haley Mansion in Joliet caused $1.25 million in damage, authorities said.

Fire causes $1.25m in damage at historic Illinois mansion

Chicago announces best monikers in snowplow naming contest

Chicago city staff chose 50 finalists and the mayor's office received more than 80,000 votes. Staff ultimately chose seven winners.

Chicago announces best monikers in snowplow naming contest

Daughter charged after mom's body found in Chicago freezer

A Chicago woman has been accused of keeping her mother's dead body in a freezer for nearly two years while living in a nearby apartment.

Daughter charged after mom's body found in Chicago freezer