Infamous former Chicago police commander Jon Burge has been sentenced to only 4 ½ years in prison after being found guilty for obstruction of justice and lying about torturing crime suspects into making confessions. Many feel that Burge got off lightly despite the doubling of his sentence under Federal sentencing guidelines, which prosecutors argued, was necessary due to the severity of his crimes. Jon Burge was not prosecuted for actual acts of torture he participated in or oversaw and it seems unlikely he will be prosecuted for those acts even though torture is against International Law.
The International Criminal Court does not have universal jurisdiction due in large part to opposition by the United States and could only prosecute Burge under special circumstances. Furthermore, Burge’s alleged crimes occurred before July 1, 2002 and the ICC can only prosecute crimes committed on or after that date.
Mark Clements who is a torture victim of Jon Burge and on the Board of Directors of “Campaign to End the Death Penalty” will be appeard on Black Talk Radio News and Views on January 26, 2011 to discuss the many issues surrounding torture and the Chicago Police. Also joining the broadcast was Amanda Reed, the mother of still imprisoned alleged torture victim Gerald Reed and Bertha Escamilla whose son Nick Escamilla tortured and was released after nearly 16 years for a crime he maintains he did not commit but rarely talks about the experience as he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Mark Clements and other advocates believe that there is a possible cover up and the public needs to learn of the extent of the torture and abuse committed for years by Chicago Police and that all alleged victims need to have a fair hearing of their claims.
Mark Clements writes, “A new special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate acts of torture committed by the detectives who worked under Burge after Burge was terminated by the Chicago Police Department in 1993. This investigation is needed to show a continued pattern of abuse at Area Two and Area Three.”
There is also a concern that Judges currently sitting on the bench should not be allowed to conduct the hearings involving torture claims.
Mark Clements: “Cook County Judge's, most who arise from the administration of Richard M. Daley when he was the Cook County State's Attorney, are now judges. When cases of torture come before them, they seek out ways to deny the men claims despite granting the men hearings.”