Casciaro innocence certificate dropped; lawsuit proceeds

By Gregory Harutunian For Chronicle Media

Mario Casciaro

The pursuit to obtain a certificate of innocence for Mario Casciaro was dropped, although a $6 million federal civil lawsuit filed in March 2017 will proceed against the Village of Johnsburg, its police department, and other individuals.

The Jan. 26 petition withdrawal for the certificate came before McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather, who presided over both trails in the presumed death and disappearance of 17-year-old Brian Carrick in December 2002.

Casciaro was the lone defendant cited by prosecutors in Carrick’s death, although no body was ever found. An April 2013 jury trial resulted in a guilty by intimidation homicide verdict, and a 26-year sentence. A 2012 trial had concluded with a hung jury, and several years prior, he was acquitted of perjury through an indictment handed down by the county grand jury.

The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, originally named as a party in the federal lawsuit, settled with Casciaro for $50,000 last year. The negotiated amount was largely paid through a county liability insurance claim, and permitted the office to withdraw from the lawsuit.

Casciaro has pursued the certificate of innocence through the McHenry County Circuit Court system unsuccessfully, since being released in late 2015 after an appellate court tossed his conviction, citing “improbable” testimony and “overreaching” by prosecutors.

“Regarding the certificate, it would have been incumbent upon him to prove his innocence on the day of the scheduled hearing,” said McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally. “The fact that he dropped his petition, prior to the hearing, is really all that anyone should need to know.

“We are no longer involved, and we won’t be representing Johnsburg, as they have their own jurisdiction and their own defense attorneys,” he said.

Johnsburg officials previously stated that they would not comment on pending litigation.

The village, its police department, and its police chief Keith Von Allmen were named in the federal lawsuit for allegedly aiding a potential suspect, the late Robert Render.

The federal judge in Casciaro’s civil matter has ordered a status hearing and a settlement conference Feb. 28, following the denial of a motion to dismiss the cause by the defendants.


Casciaro innocence certificate dropped; lawsuit proceeds–