CHICAGO (CBS) — Jose Montanez spent 23 years behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit. Now, he’s the latest to bring a lawsuit against a former Chicago Police Detective, who’s already cost taxpayers more than $21 million.
Montanez’s lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court, claims his conviction in a 1993 shooting death was a “classic set-up” by the now “notorious Chicago Police Detective, Reynaldo Guevara.”
His conviction hinged mainly on testimony from a jailhouse informant, who later said he lied after he was threatened and abused by Guevara.
Montanez’s suit claims Guevara preyed “on young Latino men,” as the officer looked to “close unsolved cases by framing them.”
Per the lawsuit, Guevara has a “long history” of forcing confessions and false testimony from witnesses, as well as fabricating and concealing evidence.
“He was seen as somebody who other detectives have described as a super cop, because he was able to solve the impossible crimes,” said Russell Ainsworth, Montanez’s attorney.
Also named as defendants are two Chicago Police officers and two former prosecutors.
“Detective Guevara was not acting alone when he framed all of the people that we have come to discover he framed,” Ainsworth said. “He had help in every single case.”
Ainsworth is calling upon Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to review all of Guevara’s cases to determine if others have been wrongfully convicted.
“Anything less would be to allow Guevara and his cohorts to get away with framing men and sending them to prison for the rest of their lives,” Ainsworth said.
A State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman says the office has begun reviewing Guevara’s cases and had no comment about Monday’s lawsuit.
Guevara is retired and has invoked the fifth amendment when called to testify in court proceedings.