In this case, Donny McGee alleged that defendants prosecuted him for murder of his elderly next door neighbor based on a fabricated confession. McGee was acquitted in the criminal case, but he spent three years wrongfully incarcerated awaiting his trial. The plaintiffs brought a civil complaint, which included claims of malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the defendants, City of Chicago and police detectives. The jury returned a verdict in favor of McGee of $975,000 plus $110,000 in punitive damages against each individual defendant.
One of the defendants, Detective Lenihan, testified that the plaintiff gave vague answers when being questioned about the crime. Memory lapses were a key issue in the criminal trial. Then McGee testified about being hit in the head while in Mexico although there was testimony from his sister that he had no blackouts or memory losses. The plaintiff did admit that he hit his head while in Mexico, but he denied telling that to the detectives. He also told the detective that he didn’t have blackouts.
Significantly, since memory lapses were an issue in the case. It was learned during the trial by the court’s bailiff that one of the jurors had a document about memory lapses that she had found during an internet search and brought it to the jury room. When the bailiff advised the court, there was an exchange between the judge and the bailiff. The defendants’ lawyer argued to the judge that there was a great risk that the juror did not follow the court’s instructions regarding outside research but yet denied that she brought it into the court when asked by the bailiff. The trial judge asked the parties’ lawyer to submit a memorandum of law on the issue for the next court date.