State Supreme Court Orders Hearing For Alleged Torture Victim

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois Supreme Court has ordered a hearing for a convicted rapist who claims he was tortured into a false confession by detectives working for Cmdr. Jon Burge.

Stanley Wrice was sentenced in 1983 to 100 years in prison for a rape that occurred in his own bedroom the year before.

But Wrice has long claimed he only confessed after he was in the face and groin with a flashlight and rubber hose by detectives working for Burge.

In their ruling, the Supreme Court justices disagreed with the prosecutors’ contention that the alleged torture in the case is the legal equivalent of “harmless error,” because Wrice would have been convicted anyway.

Prosecutors had argued that the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that a coerced confession can constitute “harmless error” in the 1991 case Arizona v. Fulminante. But in that case, defendant Oreste Fulminante confessed to a prison informant that he had murdered his stepdaughter because the informant had agreed to protect him in prison.

By contrast, Wrice alleges that his confession involved torture at the hands of police, and the state Supreme Court agreed that physical coercion cannot constitute harmless error.

But Wrice is still responsible for proving that he confessed to the crime after being tortured, the state Supreme Court said.

Although Wrice confessed, he was not identified by the victim, and one of two witnesses recanted, also alleging torture.

The ruling did not address the wider issue of similar cases alleging coerced confession. Defense attorneys for Wrice had asked for an order that all inmates with credible torture claims get new hearings.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Jim Stevens

    There is a very simple way to figure out if this guy was a law abiding, innocent person at the time of his arrest. Let him take a polygraph. I’m sure a person with a completely clear conscience would jump at the chance to prove their innocence. The important thing is maintaining public safety. Burge and his posse removed alot of bad people from the street. If this guy didn’t comit the crime he was convicted of, as well as not being guilty of any other violent crimes before he was arrested, then he should be released!!!

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