Loyola University Chicago

School of Law

Dean Cage

spent 14 years in the Illinois prison system for a crime he did not commit. In 2005, The Innocence Project took on his case and won his release on May 27, 2008, after DNA evidence established he could not have committed the crime for which he was convicted.

Illinois declared and confirmed Dean's innocence through a Certificate of Innocence, the functional equivalent of a Pardon Based on Innocence, but issued by the court instead of the governor. This Certificate of Innocence was challenged by an Illinois prosecutor who asserts that it infringes on the governor's pardon power. Life After Innocence (along with the Illinois Attorney General, Northwestern University School of Law's Center on Wrongful Convictions, and the University of Chicago Exoneration Project) filed an amicus brief in support of the Certificate of Innocence in response to the challenge. After a DuPage judge ruled that the certificate was not unconstitutional.

Now out of prison for just more than a year, Dean enjoys spending time with his sons and fiancé, Jewel, who testified at his trial as an alibi witness and supported him throughout his wrongful incarceration. CNN recently covered Dean and Jewel as the only couple they’d discovered who had remained together through the long journey of a wrongful conviction (see the video and a full story in the link below) Dean currently works for a national food manufacturer and lives out of state to be closer to his children.