Burge sentenced to 4 and a half years

January 21, 2011

Robert Wildeboer

Download Story
(Photo/Bill Healy)
Burge heads to sentencing.
(Photo/Bill Healy)
(Photo/Bill Healy)
Burge's lawyers Bill Gamboney and Richard Beuke.

Former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for lying in court papers about police torture.

In handing down the sentence Judge Joan Lefkow said the jury didn't believe Jon Burge when he testified at trial and neither did she. Lefkow said officers have lied in her courtroom before and they should know that's a risky thing to do. She gave Burge twice as much time as the sentencing guidelines called for, citing many letters from African Americans who believed 2 years would be a slap on the wrist.

Lefkow said she was particularly moved by a letter from a man who said he had been arrested and beaten into giving a false confession to police when he was seventeen. She said he's still in prison 30 years later.

Lefkow says she has immense respect for police noting their work investigating the murders of her husband and mother. But she said there was a dismal failure in leadership in the department that allowed Burge to continue beating up suspects and set the stage for his conviction.

Burge is scheduled to report to prison March 16th.