Imagine spending 31 years in jail for a crime you were forced to confess to. That’s a good chunk of your life span spent incarcerated due to being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately, that was reality for Stanley Wrice.
According the Chicago Sun-Times, an almost week and a half long civil trial has ended with a federal jury awarding Wrice $4 million in compensatory damages as well as $1.2 million in punitive damages. Wrice claimed that Sgt. John Byrne and Detective Peter Dignan tortured him into confessing to a horrific gang rape that occurred in the attic of his home. The attorneys for the two now-retired officers argued that Wrice had “sadistically tortured” the victim. The crime occurred in 1982 and the victim had been beaten, burned with an iron and sexually assaulted. Wrice was originally sentenced to 100 years in prison.
In 2013, a judge in Cook County, Illinois, gave Wrice a new criminal trial after key witnesses recanted their testimony. This led to prosecutors saying they could no longer prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and Wrice went free as a result. The following fall, though, would see another Cook County judge deny Wrice a “certificate of innocence” as they believed that there was plenty of evidence that proved Wrice participated in the assault.
The jury ruled in favor of Wrice on two of his legal claims and with the officers on the third. While it’s nice that Wrice was granted the award, it can never make up for the three decades of his life spent behind bars.