Cook County Judge: OK To Subpoena John Burge As A Witness

According to the PR/Newswire:  

Cook County Judge Clayton Crane ruled Wednesday that attorneys for Cortez Brown may begin a process to subpoena former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge to testify about the beating inflicted on Brown during a 1990 murder investigation. Brown falsely confessed to the crime after Burge's subordinates bludgeoned him with a flashlight and committed other abuses. He continues to languish in state prison due to the wrongful conviction.  Seeking to void that conviction, Locke Bowman, Legal Director of the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center, and Attorney for Cortez Brown sought leave to subpoena Burge and former Detective Tony Maslanka, who currently live out-of-state, as material witnesses. The certification that Burge and Maslanka are material witnesses in the Brown case permits the attorneys to seek a subpoena within the jurisdiction in which Burge and Maslanka live. In 1990, Brown was arrested for the murders of Devin Boelter and Curtis Sims. Brown alleges that Area 3 police detectives John O'Brien, John Paladino and Tony Maslanka - all of whom worked directly under Burge - verbally threatened him and beat him repeatedly with fists and a flashlight until he agreed to submit a bogus confession to the crimes.  At trials for both murders, Brown's coerced confessions were the principal evidence used to tie him to the alleged crimes. And in both cases, the larger pattern of atrocities that Burge inflicted on other black suspects was not revealed. Burge is currently under federal indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice based on his sworn denials that suspects were abused and tortured. Brown finished serving the 30 year sentence imposed on him for one of the murders, but seeks release from his natural life sentence for the second.


Robert Wilson Files Suit Against Eleven Chicago Police Officers

Robert Wilson has filed a civil rights lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois against eleven Chicago police officers, a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney, the County of Cook, and the City of Chicago. Wilson was charged with attacking June Siler on February 29, 1997 as she waited for a bus at 2851 South King Drive in Chicago. Wilson was arrested on March 1, 1997 and alleged that over the next 30 hours the police  physically abused him, denied him sleep and food, denied him his blood pressure medication, intimidated him, promised him leniency if he confessed and threatened him with violence if he did not confess. Wilson wound up confessing to the attack on Siler. Wilson was convicted at his criminal trial and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Siler identified Wilson as her attacker at trial. Wilson filed a petition for habeas corpus on January 13, 2006, alleging that his attorneys should have been allowed to present evidence that another man, Jerryco Wagner, had attacked several women during the time Siler had been attacked in the same vicinity. District Judge Ruben Castillo granted the petition and, thereafter, Siler recanted her identification of Wilson. On November 30, 2006, the State chose not to initiate a new trial against Wilson. Wilson spent 9 years in prison before being released. Wilson's complaint contains claims for violating Wilson's right to a fair trial, conspiracy to violate Wilson's constitutional rights, failure to intervene, malicious prosecution, civil conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, respondeat superior, and indemnification. Wilson is represented by Locke Bowman from the MacArthur Justice Center, Northwestern University School of Law. The case has been assigned to Judge Kocoras.

Michael Evans Appeals Jury Verdict In Favor Of Ten Former Chicago Police Officers

Plaintiff Michael Evans has filed his appellate brief with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Evans had sued ten former Chicago Police Officers claiming they framed him for the rape and murder of nine-year old Lisa Cabassa back in 1976. Evans was convicted of that crime in 1977 and spent 27 years in prison until being released in 2003 based on the results of DNA testing. Evans later received an innocence pardon from Governor Blagojevich. In August 2006, a jury found in favor of the ten Chicago Police Officers and against Evans. Evans had asked the jury to award him over $50 million in damages.The main issue raised in Evans' appeal is that several of the former Officers were allowed to give depositions shortly before trial after having previously asserted their Fifth Amendment rights. Evans claims he was prejudiced by these depositions, but did not ask District Court Judge David Coar to continue the trial date. The ten former Chicago Police Officers were represented by Andrew Hale, Eileen Rosen and John Rock from the law firm of Rock Fusco, LLC. Michael Evans was represented by Jon Loevy of Loevy & Loevy, Flint Taylor from the People's Law Office and Locke Bowman from the MacArthur Justice Center.