Northwestern Law and other groups urge full hearings for 20 victims of known police torture
A press conference at Northwestern University School of Law’s Bluhm Legal Clinic will urge the Illinois Appellate Court to order full hearings on the cases of approximately 20 African-American men who are languishing in prison as a result of confessions extracted by Chicago police officers known to have engaged in systematic torture.
Shortly before the press conference, an amicus brief will be filed on behalf of the group in the case of Stanley Wrice, one of the men who have been denied hearings on their allegations that they confessed under torture.
The press conference will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, March 5, at the Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern University School of Law, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, Rubloff Building, Room 800.
The press conference will bring together a group of community and religious leaders, lawyers and victims of Chicago police torture.
Participants will include Darrell Cannon, police torture victim; Locke Bowman, legal director of the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center at the Northwestern University School of Law; Thomas Geraghty, director of the Bluhm Legal Clinic; Heidi L. Lambros, attorney for Stanley Wrice; and Father Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church and one of the signers of the brief.
The amicus brief that will be filed Friday has to do with Wrice’s 1983 sentence of life in prison based on a confession that he alleges was extracted through torture at the hands of two officers working under Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge. At Wrice’s trial, long before the Chicago police torture scandal was documented, the Cook County Circuit Court summarily denied his motion to suppress the confession.
Ten years later, after the Chicago Police Department officially acknowledged that Burge and officers under his command had systematically tortured African-American suspects, Wrice again asked the Circuit Court to allow him to present evidence that his confession was the result of torture. The Circuit Court refused to consider the merits of his request because it found that it was time barred.
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