Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Michael Evans

First Name Michael
Last NameEvans
Year of Conviction1977
Year of Exoneration2003
State of ConvictionIllinois
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty Plea2 Trials
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

Missing the defense case portion of trial transcript

Did the defendant testify at trial?No
Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Informant
Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Non-victim
Lineup Procedures
  • Composite drawing
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Suggestive remarks – Eyewitness said in deposition in civil rights case brought postconviction that police suggested names to her and that she was “ quite sure” police mentioned the name Michael Evans to her during interviews and before she identified him. She also said that police detained her for ten hours pressuring her to name names. ● Brady – eyewitness had received a $1,250 cash payment from the Illinois Law Enforcement Commission for alleged relocation expenses when she named Michael Evans; new trial was granted when this was uncovered.

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Discrepancies in description – eyewitness said she lied about description initially – discrepancies included hair, shape of face, shape of nose, glasses, skin color, age. She was not wearing glasses at the time and did not see well without them. ● Initial nonidentification – prepared composite and did not identify Evans or Terry to police, although at trial said knew well who Evans and Terry were

Quotes from testimony #2

“You were misleading the artist in describing the person to the artist, if you are telling the truth now? A. Yes, sir, I am telling the truth now and I was misleading the artist” She described second person she saw, later identified as Evans, as “medium brown complected,” and with “very black eyebrows” that “almost looked like they were painted,” and “slim build,” between 19 and 25 years old, and with a small moustache. Evans was 17 years old.

Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized WitnessIW
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies● Eyewitness considered also as a paid informant, in that she had come forward to claim $5,000 reward, and a new trial was granted when it came to light that she was granted money by the prosecutor, ostensibly for relocation.
Quotes from testimony #3

See Eyewitness entry for information concerning crime scene provided by eyewitness. The Chicago Tribune reported that the victim’s “ mother told polices [that the victim] left the house at 6:30 p.m., but by the time she testified at the 1977 trial, she said [the victim] left at 8 p.m. In 2002 the Tribune contacted the slain girl’s parents. Both said the mother changed her testimony to make it agree with an account given by the witness, raising questions about the integrity of the case.”

Quotes regarding any deal or leniency with informant, or prior use of informant

Witness was provided money for “relocation” by prosecutor, which defense learned about only after first trial, resulting in a new trial granted.

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Brady
  • Jackson Claim
  • Jury Instructions
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct
Claims granted, resulting in preexon. reversal
  • Brady
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
  • HE
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. Evans, 399 N.E.2d 1333 (Ill. App. 1979)