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Wrongfully Convicted Of Rape, Lake County Man Sues

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Juan Rivera has an emotional reunion with friends and family after he was released from Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet in January, 2012. (CBS)

Juan Rivera has an emotional reunion with friends and family after he was released from Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet in January, 2012. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A Lake County man wrongfully imprisoned for 20 years — half his life — following the 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl, has filed a lawsuit against police for allegedly framing him for the crime.

Three juries convicted Juan Rivera, 39, over his pleas of innocence and he was only released after an appellate court ordered his freedom.

Rivera told reporters, “I’m filing this suit for justice and for the life that was taken from me. I’m also filing this for other inmates who may have been wrongly convicted.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody Reports

The suit says investigators seeking to closed a heater case interrogated Rivera four straight days with only four hours sleep and without either family or counsel.

It says he suffered a mental breakdown, was left hog-tied in a padded cell and confessed on the fourth day after tag team interrogation by investigators.

Rivera was convicted three times of the rape and murder of 11-year-old of Holly Staker

DNA evidence would later show that Rivera was not the person who raped Staker.

In January of 2012 he was released from prison.

The suit names police from Waukegan, Lake Forest, Buffalo Grove and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.

Attorney Jon Loevy says Lake County State’s Attorney repeatedly filed charges even knowing that an ankle monitor showed Rivera was at home at the time of the crime.

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