KANKAKEE — The attorney representing several people and government agencies being sued by Terrence Haynes argued in a motion Haynes and his brother, Jemiko Bates, bribed a witness in order to get his release from state prison and murder charges dropped from a 1999 case.
Haynes had served 20 years of a 45-year sentence, but the Illinois Appellate Court ruled in May 2018 he should be tried again when it was learned a key witness recanted his testimony and as other facts came to light.
The latest motion in the case was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Urbana by Chicago attorney James Sotos.
Sotos represents the City of Kankakee, Kankakee police officers Kenneth Lowman, Samuel Miller and Susan Wagner, Kankakee County, and former Kankakee County Assistant State’s Attorneys Frank Astrella and Michael Jeneary.
Lowman, Miller and Wagner investigated the case, while Astrella and Jeneary prosecuted it.
In his new filing, Sotos argued that tapes of phone calls Haynes made with family members, including Bates, show he and his brother conspired to pay $1,000 to Marcus Hammond, the state’s key witness at his August 2000 trial.
According to Sotos’ filing, Haynes discussed in early 2015, a $1,000 payment from his brother to Hammond in exchange for his testimony.
“Those calls demonstrate that [Haynes] actively approved of and offered money to fund the bribe,” according to the filing.
“Plaintiff has benefited tremendously from the bribery, including through the dismissal of criminal charges and receipt of a Certificate of Innocence. But Plaintiff’s use of the bribe to manufacture and advance this lawsuit in discovery now places him in the crosshairs of this Court’s broad remedial powers.”
Hammond recanted his earlier testimony that Murrell did not have a gun when Haynes fired two shots, hitting Murrell. Hammond was 10 years old when the shooting occurred on the porch of his brother’s (Gary Hammond) house.
According to court documents, Hammond told investigators Murrell was armed and going for his gun. Hammond said prosecutors told him to say he did not see Murrell with a gun.
Michael Jeneary and Marcus Hammond are cousins. This fact was brought up when Haynes filed a motion in 2008 that his due process rights were violated.
The 43-year-old Haynes is represented by Chicago attorneys Andrew M. Hale and Shawn W. Barnett of the firm Hale & Monico. They filed the lawsuit in October 2019.
Haynes and Bates are currently out on bail after both were arrested in July in Coles County and charged with drug trafficking.
Haynes’ lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, costs and for “any additional relief that is just and proper.”
They argue that Haynes’ constitutional rights were violated, including the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable search and seizures) and 14th Amendment (due process).
The other four counts deal with Illinois state law in regard to malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, legal malpractice and compensation.
In June 2019, Haynes had all charges dropped against him from a 1999 arrest for the homicide of May 1999 shooting and killing of Cezaire Murrell.
Murrell and Haynes were involved in a fight prior to the shooting, according to court documents. Haynes was convicted in August 2000 and was sentenced to 45 years by Kankakee County Judge Kathy Bradshaw Elliott.
After the Illinois Appellate Court ruled in May 2018 he should be tried again, Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe dismissed the charges rather than try Haynes for a third time.
Rowe also agreed with a motion filed by Haynes’ attorneys for the court to grant a Certificate of Innocence. The certificate can remove the conviction from a person’s record. If granted, a wrongly convicted person can bring a claim for damages against the state.
According to the motion filed Wednesday by Sotos, the amount paid by the state was $236,095.
At Haynes’ hearing in regards to the Certificate of Innocence, Jeffrey R. Kivetz, an attorney with Sotos’ firm, was escorted from the courtroom after trying to get Judge Michael Sabol to allow him to speak.
Kivetz said he wanted to speak about the certificate. Rowe and Barnett both said Kivetz had no connection with this case.
As Kivetz was being escorted out he said, “I wasn’t trying to be rude. I just was trying to give our opinion.”