GIST: "In a rare move, the Illinois Supreme Court has reversed a recent ruling and decided to consider Alan's Beaman's appeal in his lawsuit against the Town of Normal and three former Normal police officers. Beaman is seeking damages against the town and the ex-officers for their alleged participation in an improper investigation that led to his wrongful conviction on murder charges. Beaman served more than 12 years in prison before the Illinois Supreme Court reversed his conviction for the death of Illlnois State University Jennifer Lockmiller in 1993. Beaman, now 45 and living in Rockford, sued the town and former officer Dave Warner, Frank Zayas, and Tim Freesmeyer for wrongful prosecution. The 2016 dismissal of the lawsuit was upheld by the Fourth District Appellate Court earlier this year. The Illinois Supreme Court denied Beaman's request to appeal his case on Nov. 22 but on Thursday, the high reversed that decision and granted a petition to consider arguments in the case. "We're pleased that the Supreme Court has decided to hear this important case about a travesty of justice that robbed Alan Beaman of his liberty and youth. Alan's heroic fight will now continue in the highest court of this state," David Shapiro, one of Beaman's lawyers, said Thursday. In court filings, Beaman's legal team claims that Beaman, an Illinois Wesleyan University student when he was accused of killing his former girlfriend, was targeted early on in the police investigation and arrested "without any probative evidence." The appellate court ruled the police officers are immune from malicious prosecution because their actions did not play "a significant role in commencing or continuing the prosecution." The town has claimed the decision to file charges was made solely by prosecutors. In their recent petition to the Supreme Court, Beaman's lawyers said the appellate court's interprtation "frees malicious police officers to skew their investigations in order to frame innocent people like Alan Beaman." Thomas DiCianni, lawyer for the Town of Normal and the former officers said, "We're puzzled by the Supreme Court decision, but we're confident the Supreme Court is not going to see this any differently than the five courts" that have previously rejected the lawsuit. In its 2008 reversal of Beaman's 1994 conviction, the Supreme Court found the evidence against Beaman was less than convincing. Police time trials of how long it would have taken Beaman to drive from his home in Rockford to Lockmiller's Normal apartment, kill her and return home before his mother arrived were manipulated to discredit Beaman, according to his lawyers. The lack of serious scrutiny given by police to other potential suspects, including a man who had dated Lockmiller, provided her with drugs and abused women, also is a factor that contributed to Beaman's conviction, according to his lawyers.

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