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Dixon Prisioner Released

A man locked up for raping a woman more than a decade ago is now free.

Dixon -- A man locked up for raping a woman at the Daley Center more than a decade ago is now free. 

Carl Chatman was a homeless man back in 2002 when he was convicted of raping a woman.  He sat in prision while his family and attorneys fought for his release.  The wrongfully convicted man walked out of the dixon correctional center after more than a decade behind bars for a rape he never committed.

"It's a dream come true," said Carl Chatman. His younger brother and sisters met him at the door barely able to contain their emotions.
"I'm happy he is home and we love him," said Chatman's sister Dretha Miller. Speaking to the press outside of prision, the chatman family expressed their elation as well as frustration. "For 4,127 days my brother was wrongly incarcerated," said Dretha Miller. 

Back in 2002 Chatman was convicted of raping a woman inside the Daley Center, despite no physical evidence.  His accuser told police she walked into a courtroom when a homeless man attacked her.  She described Chatman and he was arrested shortly after. "There's a rush to judge and we forget about justice.  He was suffering from mental illness and he was vulnerable.  He wasn't a good advocate for himself and thus he was wrongly convicted," said Russell Ainsworth, Chatman's attorney from the University of Chicago.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alverez admits there were holes in the case, and has established a Conviction Integrity Unit.  The unit was established back in 2012 to find more cases of innocent men like Carl Chatman.  And as for Carl, there were no words for his accuser.  "All I can say is somebody loves me," said Chatman. "I always knew my brother was innocent.  I am gonna walk with him," said Theresa Chatman, sister to Carl Chatman.


Meanwhile, Chatman's attorney says the legal system needs more safe guards to protect innocent people like Carl Chatman so this never happens again.
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