CHICAGO (CBS) — Stanley Wrice has been in prison for 31 years for a brutal, 1982 rape. Tuesday, a Cook County judge granted him a new trial, in part, because he was tortured into making a confession.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov explains.
“We knew the truth. Stanley knew the truth. I think a lot of people knew the truth,” said Heidi Linn Lambros.
Attorneys Jennifer Bonjean and Heidi Linn Lambros believe truth finally prevailed for their client – 59 year old Stanley Wrice. Tuesday, they won, not his innocence, but a new trial and his freedom.
When asked about what was the most egregious aspect of the case, Bonjean said, “Any time that you wrongfully incarcerate someone for 31 years, I think it is the lack of anyone caring until now.”
Wrice has spent 31 years in prison for a 1982 rape in Chicago. All along, he claimed former commander Jon Burge’s officers tortured him into confessing.
During the two day hearing, Wrice testified about that. A key witness against Wrice recanted his story and the two police officers involved in his arrest refused to answer questions.
Cook County Juvenile Judge Robert Walsh said there was no question Wrice was tortured, adding, ‘I think the State’s Attorney… I think they acted in good faith, but the State is responsible and liable for the conduct of police officers and they committed perjury.”
“The evidence was weak in the first place. It’s non-existent now,” said Heidi Linn Lambros.
Special prosecutors in this case won’t yet say if they’ll pursue a new trial. Wrice’s family is hoping it’s over.
“We’re just happy and ready to go home and celebrate,” said Stanley Rice’s son-in-law.
Wrice will get out of Pontiac Prison Wednesday on $5,000 bond. He’ll meet his grandchildren for the first time.
And if you’re wondering why a Cook County Juvenile Court judge was assigned to this case, it’s because he had no former ties to former Mayor Richard M. Daley, who was State’s Attorney when Burge was a commander.