CHICAGO (CBS) – Lawyers for a man who has spent 31 years in prison for a rape he claims he did not commit have requested the case be moved out of Cook County, after the judge hearing the politically-charged case recused herself.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports Judge Evelyn Clay found that Stanley Wrice – who has claimed police tortured him into a false confession to a 1982 rape – successfully established “a substantial showing of actual innocence.”
She had set a Sept. 23 evidentiary hearing in the case, but later recused herself from the case in August, about a month after former Mayor Richard M. Daley – who was the Cook County State’s Attorney at the time Wrice confessed – and Appellate Court Judge Bertina Lampkin – who was the original prosecutor on the case – w ere subpoenaed to testify.
“Judge Clay’s recusal is very fishy,” said Wrice’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean. “If Judge Clay has removed herself as a result of the appearance of impropriety, then certainly every judge in this building would be laboring under that same potential conflict.”
Chief Criminal Court Judge Paul Biebel has granted Bonjean’s request to send the case to Chief Judge Timothy Evans, so he could decide whether the case should be handled by a judge from another county.
Activist Mark Clements, who spent 28 years behind bars for murder before he was exonerated and freed in 2010, has claimed police tortured him into a false confession when he was 16 years old.
He said it’s time for Wrice to get a fair hearing on his claims of torture.
“The political football in this arena, it must stop,” Clements said.
Bonjean said people with similar cases are dying in prison while their cases languish in court.