Former Death Row Inmate Wins $6.6 Million Lawsuit Against FBI Agents

Former Illinois death row inmate Steven Manning (pictured) has been awarded $6.6 million in a civil lawsuit against two FBI agents. A jury found that the agents had framed Manning twice, including once for murder. The jury found FBI agents Robert Buchan and Gary Miller liable of concocting evidence to frame Manning, their one-time informant and a former Chicago police officer, in the murder of a trucking firm executive and in the kidnapping of two Missouri drug dealers. Manning's attorney, Jon Loevy, noted that the agents were motivated by revenge because Manning had sued them for harassment after quitting as an informant. Manning's wrongful convictions were overturned and he was eventually released from death row in February 2004. "He was in prison with the worst of the worst. Everybody was a murderer or a rapist and they all hated cops. It was hell," said Loevy of Manning's case.

At a time when Illinois had carried out 12 executions, Manning was the 13th death row exoneree in the state to be freed. His exoneration was among a series of events that prompted then-Governor George Ryan to declare a moratorium on executions until the state took steps to address its flawed capital punishment system. The civil judgment against the federal agents may be paid by the federal government. The agents found liable in the case are unlikely to face charges. (Reuters, January 25, 2005). See Innocence and Costs.