A coalition of people against the death penalty, who thought justice would be served when Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan was assigned several torture cases related to former Chicago police Commander Jon Burge, are now accusing her of “passin
A coalition of people against the death penalty, who thought justice would be served when Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan was assigned several torture cases related to former Chicago police Commander Jon Burge, are now accusing her of “passing the buck.” Nearly six years ago, Madigan was appointed as a special prosecutor to oversee the cases of men who suffered torture by Burge and some on his staff. Instead of continuing to handle those cases, she’ll appear before a judge Friday requesting that five torture cases be handled by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, said a spokesperson for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. “We’re rallying to demand new trials for torture victims and to call her out for not taking responsibility for the cases she was assigned,” Julien Bell, a spokesperson for the group told the Defender. Supporters of the group and attorneys for alleged victims plan to attend the 2 p.m. hearing today at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse on 26th Street and California Avenue. Burge and officers under his command were accused of torturing many into confessions through beatings, electric shock and other odious acts. He was terminated by the Chicago Police Department in 1993 and indicted in October 2008 on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. Federal prosecutors have expanded the investigation to include officers under the former commander’s command when the alleged torture acts took place. Attorney Locke Bowman of the MacArthur Justice Center, who also represents some of the victims, said the state’s attorney’s office has a conflict of interest in taking on the cases, as cited in a previous court ruling. Former State’s Attorney Richard Devine was former counsel to Burge, creating the conflict of interest for Devine’s staff, including current State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. The possible case transfers may “invite further delay and inconsistent decision making and that constitutes an abdication of responsibility,” Bowman stated. ______ Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.