"Rebuilding the Lives of the Wrongfully Convicted"

City to award $3.4 million to man cleared of murder after spending eight years in prison

Maurice Patterson never got the apology he wanted from the judge who sentenced him to 30 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. But, he’s about to get something more valuable from Chicago taxpayers: a $3.4 million settlement.

On Tuesday, the City Council’s Finance Committee will be asked to sign off on the payment, culminating a legal odyssey that saw Patterson spend eight years behind bars only to be released in October, 2010 after DNA evidence cleared him of the murder.

Before being sentenced, Patterson told a judge he was innocent and asked the judge whether, if he was ultimately cleared of the crime, “Are you going to be here to apologize to me?”

Patterson never got that apology — even after DNA evidence cleared him of the murder.

The evidence was taken from a knife that Cook County prosecutors originally claimed had no connection to the crime. As the DNA test showed years later, the knife had the victim’s blood on it with the blood of another man, a convicted offender, who lived near the crime scene.

Patterson’s case was championed by Rob Warden of Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, but the process that ultimately freed him two years ago was set in motion by Patterson himself.