WBEZ | Stanley Wrice http://www.wbez.org/tags/stanley-wrice Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Judge Evans: Can’t comment on politically charged case involving Mayor Daley http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-evans-can%E2%80%99t-comment-politically-charged-case-involving-mayor-daley-108502 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3083_daleypresser_4-scr_0_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County&rsquo;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.</p><p>The case is that of Stanley Wrice, a man who has spent 30 years in prison for a crime he says he didn&rsquo;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.</p><p>Cook County Judge Evelyn Clay had been overseeing Wrice&rsquo;s case,&nbsp; 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&rsquo;s top prosecutor.</p><p>Wrice&rsquo;s attorney Jennifer Bonjean says clout is being used to keep Daley off the stand.</p><p>Tim Evans oversees Cook County courts and says judicial ethics prevent him from discussing pending cases.</p><p>&ldquo;I have to follow the same rules that I insist that other judges follow, so you&rsquo;ll understand why I can&rsquo;t comment directly on that case. But I can certainly tell you I am aware of it, yes,&rdquo; said Evans.</p><p>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.</p></p> Fri, 23 Aug 2013 07:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-evans-can%E2%80%99t-comment-politically-charged-case-involving-mayor-daley-108502 Judge’s ‘belated’ decision to recuse could delay alleged torture case for months http://www.wbez.org/news/judge%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98belated%E2%80%99-decision-recuse-could-delay-alleged-torture-case-months-108457 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3083_daleypresser_4-scr_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The attorney for an alleged victim of Chicago police torture says her client is a &ldquo;broken man&rdquo; after the judge in his case recused herself last week.</p><p>She says the judge&rsquo;s decision was politically motivated, and it could delay her client&rsquo;s search for justice for months.</p><p>Last week Cook County Judge Evelyn Clay withdrew from the case of convicted rapist Stanley Wrice.</p><p>In a phone conference last Tuesday, Clay told attorneys from both sides that it had &ldquo;belatedly come to [her] attention&rdquo; there would be &ldquo;an appearance of impropriety&rdquo; if she stayed on Wrice&rsquo;s case because she knows some of the witnesses, according to a court transcript.</p><p>Wrice&rsquo;s attorney Jennifer Bonjean says the judge&rsquo;s decision is an attempt to protect former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley from having to testify.</p><p>Wrice, 59, was sentenced to 100 years in prison for his alleged involvement in a 1982 gang rape. But he claims he didn&rsquo;t do it, and that he only confessed because he was tortured by police officers working under disgraced Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge.</p><p>Daley was the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney during Wrice&rsquo;s first trial in 1982.</p><p>Last year the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that Wrice&rsquo;s claims of torture warranted a review, and in January Clay ordered a full evidentiary hearing.</p><p>In her order Clay wrote that Wrice had &ldquo;established a substantial showing of actual innocence.&rdquo;</p><p>Bonjean said the judge&rsquo;s decision gave Wrice &ldquo;a little glimmer of hope.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;You&rsquo;re gonna have that chance finally ... &lsquo;I get to take the stand and I get to question witnesses through my attorneys about what happened to me and how I ended up in jail as an innocent man for 31 years,&rsquo;&rdquo; she said of Wrice&rsquo;s reaction.</p><p>The hearing was set for Sept. 23, but now Bonjean said she doesn&rsquo;t know when it will happen.</p><p>Along with the former mayor, Illinois Appellate Judge Bertina Lampkin is also named as a witness in the case. Lampkin was the prosecutor in Wrice&rsquo;s first trial.</p><p>Court records show that Clay had known who the witnesses would be for Wrice&rsquo;s hearing for the past year and a half.</p><p>According to the transcript, when Bonjean pointed this out, the judge agreed and apologized for her &ldquo;belated recognition&rdquo; of the potential appearance of impropriety.</p><p>During the phone conference, Bonjean asked Clay four times to explain her decision to withdraw, and according to the court record, each time the judge declined.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, I prefer not,&rdquo; Clay said at one point. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s as far as I need to go,&rdquo; she said at another.</p><p>Bonjean says the timing of the decision and Clay&rsquo;s unwillingness to explain further are signs that Clay was pressured by her bosses to recuse herself in an effort to delay Daley and Lampkin from having to testify.</p><p>&ldquo;The powers that be would rather leave a man in jail to rot for the rest of his life than to simply require those people to answer legitimate questions that they should have answered decades ago,&rdquo; Bonjean said.</p><p>Judge Clay and the special prosecutor on Wrice&rsquo;s current case did not return phone calls.</p><p>A new judge is set to be assigned to the case on September 4.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 19 Aug 2013 16:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/judge%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98belated%E2%80%99-decision-recuse-could-delay-alleged-torture-case-months-108457 Illinois high court to rule in police torture case http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-high-court-rule-police-torture-case-96044 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-02/AP081021058250.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><div><p><span id="_oneup">An inmate who says Chicago police officers tortured him into confessing to a brutal rape could learn Thursday whether the Illinois Supreme Court will allow him to present evidence of coercion that was denied at trial, a ruling that could have implications for as many as 20 other inmates seeking similar appeals.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Stanley Wrice, 57, is among dozens of men — almost all of them black — who have claimed since the 1970s that former Chicago police Lt. Jon&nbsp;Burge and his officers used torture to secure confessions in crimes ranging from armed robbery to murder. Allegations persisted until the 1990s at police stations on the city's South and West Sides.</span></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-02/AP081021058250.jpg" style="width: 411px; height: 512px; float: left; margin: 5px;" title="Former Chicago police Lt. Jon Burge is serving a 4 1/2-year sentence in federal prison following his conviction last year. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius, File)"><span id="_oneup">While several of the incarcerated men with torture claims have been released, Wrice's case could have far-reaching impact on how Illinois deals with such cases in the future. Wrice, who is serving a 100-year sentence, insists he's innocent.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Allegations of abuse and torture have plagued the Police Department and the nation's third-largest city for decades and was a factor in former Gov. George Ryan's decision to institute a moratorium on the death penalty in 2000. Gov. Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty in Illinois last year.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">An appeals court has already sided with Wrice, ruling that he should be granted a new hearing on his claim that Burge's officers used a flashlight and rubber hose to beat him in the face and groin until he confessed to a 1982 sexual assault at his home. Prosecutors are asking the state Supreme Court to overturn that ruling.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Wrice's defense attorney, Heidi Lambros, said she'll be looking for one word Thursday on the high court's opinion: "If it says 'affirm,' that's golden."</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Burge is serving a 4 1/2-year sentence in federal prison following his conviction last year of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying in a civil suit when he said he'd never witnessed or participated in the torture of suspects.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Prosecutors have not disputed that Wrice was tortured but say they had enough evidence of his guilt to convict him even without the allegedly coerced confession, including testimony from two witnesses and the fact that an iron used in the attack was found in Wrice's bedroom, as were the victim's clothes.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">But during oral arguments in September, justices challenged prosecutors on the strength of their evidence, noting that no physical evidence tied Wrice to the crime. The victim never identified him as one of her attackers, and a witness who did identify him has since recanted, claiming that police tortured him too.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">In asking justices to reverse the appellate court's ruling, prosecutors have argued that the confession was the legal equivalent of "harmless error."</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">"Hopefully, the Supreme Court will clarify the law," said Myles O'Rourke, who argued the case for the special prosecutor's office. "We're just hoping that there's resolution."</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Attorneys and legal experts say it's difficult to predict what the high court will do. Justices could affirm the lower court's decision, deny the decision or send the case back for a procedural step that was skipped, among a range of options. The court could also order that all inmates with credible torture claims get new hearings, as defense attorneys have asked in an amicus brief. Or justices could allow the cases to work their way through the courts one-by-one on their merits, as prosecutors want.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Just six of the seven justices considered the Wrice case after Justice Robert Thomas recused himself and did not hear oral arguments. No reason has been given for the recusal. In the event of a 3-3 split, the lower court ruling giving Wrice a new hearing would stand.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">Joey Mogul, one of the defense attorneys representing men with pending torture claims against Burge and his officers, said the high court's ruling could have broad implications on her clients and others.</span></p><p><span id="_oneup">"I hope the Illinois Supreme Court recognizes that torture is so egregious that it never can be harmless error and that it takes the principled step of not only granting relief to Stanley Wrice but to the 15 other torture survivors who have never had the opportunity to present evidence of torture," Mogul said.</span></p></div></div></p> Thu, 02 Feb 2012 13:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-high-court-rule-police-torture-case-96044 Burge torture case in hands of Illinois Supreme Court http://www.wbez.org/story/burge-torture-case-hands-illinois-supreme-court-92053 <p><p>The case of an alleged torture victim under former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge is now in the hands of the Illinois Supreme Court. It's the first time in over a decade that a Burge related torture case is in front of the state's highest court. Since then, the former lieutenant was convicted of lying about torturing suspects and was sentenced to prison.<br> <br> The state supreme court heard arguments for the Stanley Wrice case Thursday morning--they will now deliberate whether Wrice will receive a hearing on his claim that officers tortured him into confessing to a rape 30 years ago. Wrice has been in prison since the 80s for that crime.<br> <br> Prosecutors for the state of Illinois argue they could convict Wrice even without the alleged coerced confession. Lead attorney Myles O'Rourke called the torture "harmless error" that doesn't affect the outcome of the case. Justices pressed O'Rourke Thursday on what evidence was available, and he acknowledged there are no fingerprints or DNA.<br> <br> No matter what the outcome, some advocates, like attorney Locke Bowman, say the case will have an affect on the torture scandal as a whole.</p><p>"This is the case that presents the Illinois supreme court with an opportunity to exercise leadership in the Illinois criminal justice system and to take a dramatic step if it chooses to help us put this scandal behind us," Bowman said.<br> <br> Bowman was an attorney for alleged victims in previous torture cases, and he heads the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University. He said justices could use the Wrice case to grant hearings to other alleged torture victims. He said justices could take a few months, if not longer, to decide the outcome of this case.</p></p> Thu, 15 Sep 2011 21:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/burge-torture-case-hands-illinois-supreme-court-92053