Man Wrongly Convicted of Rape Released

New unit uncovers evidence to set man free jailed for a decade

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A man who was convicted of raping a female court worker at the Daley Center in 2002 was released from prison Tuesday. (Published Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013)

    A man who was convicted of raping a female court worker at the Daley Center in 2002 was released from prison Tuesday.

    Carl Chatman, now 58, was homeless when police arrested him, even though there was no DNA or physical evidence tying him to the crime.

    "It was almost like a dream that came true," Chatman said. "All I can say is somebody loves me today."

    Chatman, who suffers from mental illness, confessed to the crime.

    "He did give a statement, but the question is, this is a man with a limited IQ and a history of mental illness," State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said.

    The case was reopened by the newly-formed Conviction Integrity Unit, aimed at re-investigating cases with questionable convictions.

    In Chatman's case, they found a new witness -- a deputy who was sleeping nearby who never heard the victim's calls for help.

    Prosecutors now question if the attack ever happened at all.

    "The fact that there was someone just feet away from her when this attack took place, I think that's significant," Alvarez said. "It raises some questions as to the credibility of her statement."

    Another red flag was that the alleged attack was one of two cases where the woman claimed to be a victim and later sued for damages.

    "There was a rush to judgement, and in that rush, we forgot about justice," Alvarez said.