Judge Evans: Can’t comment on politically charged case involving Mayor Daley

August 23, 2013

File/Kate Gardiner
File: Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Daley among those subpoenaed in Burge-era case.

Cook County’s chief judge says judicial ethics prevent him from saying whether political pressure is playing a role in a Burge torture case involving former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

The case is that of Stanley Wrice, a man who has spent 30 years in prison for a crime he says he didn’t commit. Last year the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Wrice should have a hearing on whether he was tortured by Chicago police officers working under former Commander Jon Burge.

Cook County Judge Evelyn Clay had been overseeing Wrice’s case,  but she recently recused herself, though she refused to specify why or what conflict she was trying to avoid. The recusal came just a few weeks after attorneys for Wrice subpoenaed Mayor Daley to testify about the torture that occurred when he was Cook County’s top prosecutor.

Wrice’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean says clout is being used to keep Daley off the stand.

Tim Evans oversees Cook County courts and says judicial ethics prevent him from discussing pending cases.

“I have to follow the same rules that I insist that other judges follow, so you’ll understand why I can’t comment directly on that case. But I can certainly tell you I am aware of it, yes,” said Evans.

But Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University who specialized in legal and judicial ethics, has a different take. He says nothing prevents Evans from simply clarifying that he never took a call from someone trying to influence the Wrice case.