The Thin Silent Line: New Murder Trial Ordered After Three Former and Current Police Officers Take the Fifth

250px-Chicagopd_jpg_w300h294What happen when you hold a trial and the police are the ones who take the Fifth? That question was answered by Cook County Circuit Judge Clayton Crane who ordered a new trial for Gangster Disciple member Cortez Brown, who alleged that he was forced to confess during beatings in custody.

The case is now 20 years old and Brown is now 38. His death sentence was commuted by former state Gov. George Ryan to life imprisonment.

Former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge now lives in Florida and told a judge that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent. There was a defense claim that Burge waived his fifth amendment privilege by making a statement at the hearing, but he was relieved of having to return to Illinois.

Cortez changed his name in prison to Victor Safforld and says that in September 1990 detectives handcuffed him to a wall punched, slapped, and beat him with a flashlight until he confessed to murder.

The court clearly did the correct thing in ordering a new trial. The prosecutors are less commendable in their efforts to avoid such a hearing for years. It will now be interesting if they insist on retrying the case without the statements. Given the passage of time and the loss of the statement, it will be a difficult case to try. Often in such abuse cases, detectives do not work the case fully once they have the suspect and beat out a confession.

For the full story, click here.

10 thoughts on “The Thin Silent Line: New Murder Trial Ordered After Three Former and Current Police Officers Take the Fifth”

  1. No-brainer on the new trial. I’ve had manny cases in front of Judge Crane, and he’s considered one of the better judges in the felony court rooms in Chicago. There are a few judges at 26th Street who I’m pretty sure who have denied they motion and punted this case back to the appellate court to curry favor with the F.O.P..

  2. Burge was known to be very familiar with “enhanced interrogation techniques” long before Cheney became enamored with them. I don’t know how he is still walking the streets. He should be in lockdown somewhere.

  3. “Burge is alleged to have tortured numerous suspects, and Safforld’s attorneys contend that while he may not have participated in Safforld’s interrogation, he created a environment in which his detectives knew that such mistreatment would be accepted and protected.”

    We should not allow people who commit torture to walk away from their crimes. This is absolutely corrosive of any system of justice. We are supposed to be finding the people who actually committed a crime, not beating someone, anyone, for a confession. How callus and depraved are such actions? Allowing torture as any part of detention or investigation eviscerates the law. I am glad this is being investigated. I hope good will come out of it.

    Following is a very nice piece by a professor of law at the University of Toledo:

    http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090526/OPINION04/905260326

  4. “Incidentally the convicted and currently incarcerated former Illinois Governor George Ryan declared a moratorium on the state’s death penalty in 2000. In part because of the actions of Burge.”

    CCD,
    Thanks for that tidbit, I wasn’t aware of Ryan’s motivation, which I thought then and still do now, was courageous.

  5. Jon Burge is a racist, torturing authoritarian, going back to 1972. The current Mayor of ChicAgo possibly aided in his cover up when he was employed as a Cook County States Attorney from 1980 to ‘89.

    The Chicago Reader has over 100 articles, chronicling the institutional cancer of former police Commander Jon Burge.

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/features/searchresults.php?cx=012493463673740250628:z2v584tehn4&cof=FORID:11&q=jon+buge&s

    Incidentally the convicted and currently incarcerated former Illinois Governor George Ryan declared a moratorium on the state’s death penalty in 2000. In part because of the actions of Burge.

  6. But at least the cops can question you now after you’ve invoked the right to counsel.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/27/us/27scotus.html?_r=1&hpw

    Your rights being steadily disposed of by a Federal system that is out of control and up for sale to the lobbyist with the most graft to spread around.

    Yeah. I’m about done cooperating with the government, but especially the police.

Comments are closed.