Chicago Man Released After 30 Years in Prison

Here’s another case where a man was released after decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, but this one comes with an especially repulsive twist: He was beaten by police officers until he confessed to the crime. And he’s hardly alone.

More than a decade ago, a special prosecutor undertook an investigation that revealed a longtime Chicago Police Department detective and commander had routinely tortured black men to coerce them into confessions or false testimony. Some of the convictions were reversed. A few others were pardoned by then-Governor Ryan. And Jon Graham Burge was convicted on related perjury charges and sent to jail.

But Burge’s misconduct is still taking its toll on many of the 148 people who claimed abuse. Just this week, a man who spent more than 30 years in jail was released after Judge Richard Walsh found that officers had lied about beating Stanley Wrice with a flashlight and a 20-inch piece of rubber, and about imposing similar treatment on a witness in Wrice’s case to elicit false testimony against him.

Wrice was sentenced to 100 years for a sexual assault he says he falsely confessed to after police beatings. Others with similar claims remain behind bars, hoping to seize on precedent from Wrice’s case to expedite their appeals. Lawyers will argue next week that these inmate should be certified as a class so they can argue together that they should be granted new trials.

Burge was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison. That isn’t nearly enough. He should be in prison for the same 100 years that this man whose life he ruined was supposed to serve.

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  • Wylann

    And of course, there’s no recourse for him to seek justice now.

  • left0ver1under

    There are plenty of idiots who want people executed immediately after trial, no appeals and no life sentences, because “incarceration and appeals cost money”. They don’t believe there are any wrongful convictions.

    No doubt they will argue that Wrice is an example of why people should be executed immediately, to prevent lawsuits and to save money on retrials. I can hear them now: “You don’t need to compensate dead people.”

  • Donnie

    #2 LeftOver1under: Remember, Donald Trump was advocating (marketing, lobbying) for the (re)institution of the death penalty in New York for the Central Park 5 back in the ’80s. He advocated for the institution of the death penalty specifically for the 5 black kids convicted of rape and murder of a young, white woman in Central Park. I watched it when it came out in a local theatre with my African American friend as part of our annual “Black History Month”. I was so outraged that if I was in high school/college, I would have changed career paths and go into law school in order to become a public defender.

  • Dr X

    Burge didn’t get prison for being a brutal torturer (he used a crank phone to generate electricity and ran electricity into the testicles of his captives). The statute of limitations had lapsed by the time a formal investigation was undertaken, though the torture was well-documented years earlier by journalist John Conroy. Burge was convicted of lying to investigators about the torture. That was the only thing they could get him on.

    Years later, I knew a prosecutor, now deceased. The prosecutors knew. They didn’t know the details, but they knew something was going on because of the ridiculous number of confessions Burge and his henchmen were getting.

  • theschwa

    Wait, perjury is actually a thing? I thought it was just on TV and movies. One wonders why it is not used more often for lying police officers and others in power…nevermind, I just answered my own question.

  • Marcus Ranum

    Related “how nice the police are” article:

    Outraged by the details of the alleged harsh treatment meted out to its deputy consul-general in New York, India Tuesday retaliated strongly with a series of measures that jolted the perception of friendly ties between New Delhi and Washington.

    If I’m reading this correctly, NY cops sexually assaulted and tortured a diplomat – a female one, of course. The mind boggles.

  • mobius

    Jeez. These assholes think it is better to just convict SOMEONE for the crime rather than actually try to find the real bad guy. And more often than not that someone is a minority.

    Terrible. BTW, I like your idea of sentencing these guys to a term equal to the time their malfeasance has put innocents in prison. In Burge’s case, this would certainly be equivalent to a life sentence.

  • laurentweppe

    They don’t believe there are any wrongful convictions

    They don’t believe that themselves, nor their kith and kin will be victims of wrongful convictions.

  • velociraptor

    None of the proposals go far enough, IMO. Police and Prosecutorial misconduct of this magnitude should be made capital Federal crimes.

  • uncephalized

    @velociraptor I don’t believe in the death penalty as a fitting practice for civilized society, myself.

    What I’d much rather do is remunerate the victims *very* well to make their lives easier and help them cope with having wasted their best years in prison. Give them a good pension and health insurance.

    Of course, I want to give everybody a lifetime pension and free health care, so I’m just some nut.