CHICAGO (STMW) — Former Mayor Richard M. Daley will not have to take the stand in a post-conviction hearing of a man who said he was forced into confessing to a 1982 gang rape after detectives working under disgraced Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge tortured him.
Before making his ruling Wednesday, Cook County Judge Richard Walsh told Stanley Wrice’s lawyers that they failed to connect Daley to Wrice’s case.
“I’m not going to allow this fishing expedition to take place,” Walsh sternly told defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean.
“This isn’t a fishing expedition,” Bonjean said.
“It most certainly is,” the judge replied.
Daley was state’s attorney at the time of Wrice’s conviction.
Wrice’s attorneys say that Daley knew about Burge’s reign of terror at Area 2 around the same time Wrice was arrested and when another man, Andrew Wilson, was beaten and forced to confess to the murder of two Chicago Police officers.
At the time, Dr. John Raba, director of the Cook County Jail-based Cermak Hospital, wrote a letter detailing Wilson’s injuries to then Chicago Police Supt. Richard Brzeczek.
Brzeczek, in turn, wrote a letter about Wilson’s allegations of abuse to Daley.
But assistant special prosecutor Rafael Bombino pointed out that Wilson never claimed to be tortured by John Byrne and Peter Dignan — the two detectives Wrice said beat him.
None of the officers who interrogated Wilson and testified against him were involved with Wrice’s case, the prosecutor said.
“There isn’t a significant nexus between the two cases,” Bombino told Walsh.
“Mayor Daley had no involvement in [Wrice’s] case whatsoever.”
Walsh also noted that the letter Brzeczek sent to Daley three decades ago never mentioned Burge or the name of any other officer.
Wilson, who died in prison in 2007, also had accused the “wagon men,” or men who transported him to the Area 2, as some of the culprits who hit him, Walsh said.
“Where is it anywhere that says Burge and company were torturing people?…Nowhere in this letter does it say, ‘Hey Richie Daley, your boys on the Southeast Side are torturing people,’” the judge said.
Walsh also ruled Wednesday that Raba and Brzeczek didn’t have to testify in Wrice’s post-conviction hearing.
Outside of court, Bonjean expressed disappointment over the judge’s ruling but vowed to appeal, saying that Daley has again avoided talking about the torture that has cost taxpayers millions in Burge-related settlements.
“Why won’t he come forward and explain what he knew and when he knew it?” Bonjean said, flanked by her legal team.
Over the summer Judge Evelyn Clay recused herself from Wrice’s post-conviction matter after it was revealed that Daley and Appellate Court Judge Bertina Lampkin were subpoenaed to testify in Wrice’s evidentiary hearing.
Although Clay would only say she had a conflict of interest because “this court knows some of the parties involved,” Bonjean assumes the judge was pointing to her past dealings with Daley and Lampkin, who prosecuted Wrice’s case.
The case was eventually assigned to Walsh, who is a Juvenile Court judge.
Wrice’s evidentiary hearing is scheduled to begin on Dec. 9.
Daley’s attorneys, who were in court Wednesday, declined comment.
Wrice, 59, is currently serving a 100-year prison sentence.
Burge is in the midst of a 41/2 -year prison sentence for perjury in connection with his testimony in a civil case involving allegations that he and colleagues tortured suspects.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)