Eric A. Caine, the exonerated prisoner who served 25 years after being falsely accused for murder, pleaded guilty in two separate aggravated DUI cases in June, 2014. Since his release from prison, Caine has had a rough time in the outside world. He spent 178 days in Cook County jail after his second arrest for DUI.
Monday, Caine had a status hearing at the Maybrook Courthouse. He is on probation after his convictions for two aggravated DUI while license revoked in both a July, 2013 River Forest arrest and a December 2013 North Riverside vehicle crash near his home.
On June 26, Judge Noreen Valeria Love sentenced Caine to 30 days in jail, but credited him time served after his arrest for his second DUI charge in five months. Caine was also fined $1,924, sentenced to 24 months’ probation, ordered to submit to random breathalyzer testing and to undergo treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
At the time of the Dec. 31 North Riverside incident, Caine was thought to be the financial backer in the purchase of the R Place bar, 1527 Harlem Ave. in Forest Park. Caine denied he was buying the business, but said it was being purchased by a company called 26/9 Sports Bar Lounge LLC.
According to the Secretary of State, 26/9 Sports Bar Lounge LLC is registered to Tina M. Jones, Caines then-fiance with the address of the company listed at Caine’s home on Delaplaine Road in Riverside.
Mayor Anthony Calderone, who acts as liquor commissioner for the Village of Forest Park told the Review he met with Jones and a lawyer in January of 2014, but said at the time he had never received a completed application.
Evidently, the company dissolved. On Oct. 1, 2014, the 26/9 Sports Bar Lounge LLC was placed into “Not in Good Standing” status by the Illinois Secretary of State.
As of Feb. 9, 2015, the property at 1527 S. Harlem had not been sold.
Caine could not be located at a scheduled court hearing Monday at the Maybrook Courthouse.
Caine was released from prison in March, 2011 after serving 25 years. That summer he won a $10 million settlement from the City of Chicago for his false arrest and conviction. That conviction came about due to Caine’s brutal abuse and coercion at the hands of Chicago officers supervised by corrupt Detective Commander Jon Burge.
In a1986 double murder trial, Caine’s coerced court testimony led to both him and a second innocent man being sent to prison.
Burge was eventually convicted on federal perjury charges and sentenced to 54 months in prison and is currently on court supervision.
In a July, 2011 profile in Wednesday Journal, Caine said being in Oak Park “was like Alice in Wonderland. Like I came through a carwash. I felt so serene. So at peace, and I didn’t even know what the place was.”
However, Caine didn’t remain living in Oak Park, and his life was anything but serene.
Following his release, Caine was arrested by the Forest Park police in 2012 for driving under the influence and by Oak Park police in 2013 for driving with a suspended license after he ran over a parking lot sidewalk and damaged a restaurant refrigeration unit.
Caine accused River Forest police of repeatedly harassing him in 2013.
In the spring of that year, Caine began alleging that River Forest police were singling him out and harassing him starting with an alleged interaction in March.
Caine was the subject of a Huffington Post opinion piece by David Protess, president of the nonprofit Chicago Innocence Project and a former Medill journalism professor.
In his opinion piece, Protess contended that Caine was a victim of police harassment.
Protess wrote “That is when he encountered Officer Benjamin Laird. Emerging from the truck in plainclothes, Laird announced that Caine was under arrest. His offense: driving with a suspended license.”
Caine never filed a formal written complaint with River Forest police.
On July 15, Laird placed Caine under arrest for disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer after observing him and another man sleeping in a car parked outside a River Forest apartment building around 3 a.m. Caine reportedly assumed a fighting stance on the officer.
Around 1 a.m. midnight on July 30, Laird pulled Caine over on the 700 block of North Harlem for playing his stereo too loud. He was allegedly driving with a suspended license and carrying an open container of alcohol and was arrested for aggravated DUI after he was found to not have the required breathalyzer lock device, called a BAIID, on his car.
On New Year’s Eve, 2013, Caine was again arrested and charged with felony drunken driving after smashing the sides of two vehicles on Desplaines Avenue by 31st Street in North Riverside, near his new home.