Wrongly imprisoned man to sue city of Chicago

ABC7 Exclusive
September 2, 2009 8:26:08 PM PDT
Alton Logan spent 26 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Logan has been free for a year, but remains jobless and still without the financial award the state pledged to pay him.

So on Thursday Logan is going to court.

Logan had been convicted of killing a restaurant security guard.

The 1982 murder case against Alton Logan was formally dismissed one year ago this Friday. Logan was free to start life anew. The judge at the time said "you've ended a season in purgatory. Your long personal nightmare is over." Alton Logan is no longer in prison, but arguably his nightmare is far from over.

Most every day presents a similar routine. A morning cup of coffee and an internet search for job possibilities. Alton Logan's family and friends have helped him try to adjust to life after prison, but they can't give him what he has struggled to find.

"I'd say 85 to 100," said Logan when asked how many job interviews he has been on in the last year.

Logan knew a year ago that finding work would be tough. It's slim pickings for anybody in the trades, let alone someone who's been in prison, but Logan figured a certificate of innocence he received from the state would at least help. That certificate, however, does not cover a robbery conviction from 30 years ago.

"The only thing they say is because of your criminal background, we can't hire you," said Logan.

That is a familiar refrain for ex-cons, but Logan did 26 years for a murder he didn't commit. Convicted cop-killer Andrew Wilson confessed to the 1982 murder years ago. But his confession, made to his attorneys, was considered privileged, and they felt they couldn't reveal it until Wilson's death in prison two years ago.

"Nothing could give me back those 26 years. No amount of money could do that," said Logan.

Logan will receive money. The state court of claims has ruled that he was wrongfully imprisoned, and will receive a prescribed amount of $199,150. The check was due at the end of August. It has not yet arrived.

One thing Alton Logan does have is support from friends and family who are trying to open doors. And despite his frustration at not finding work, he says he'll never give up looking, nor will he allow anger to take over.

"I have no control over another man's thoughts, emotions, actions, none of it. So why get angry about it," said Logan.

While he does not show anger, Logan makes known his displeasure that he's not received an apology for his wrongful imprisonment. A year ago, and again on Wednesday, he said he wants an apology from the then state's attorney Richard Daley although Logan says he knows he won't get it.

On Thursday, Logan's attorney is filing a lawsuit against the city of Chicago, claiming that police framed Logan back in 1982. The suit, like numerous others, names former police commander Jon Burge as one of the defendants.


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