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Saturday, 8 March 2014

Bias and impartial behavior if allowed


If the Illinois Torture Inquiry Relief Commission, hereinafter referred to as “Commission” is allowed to appoint a crime victim to the panel that hears a claim of torture that occurred by a Chicago Police Detectives, affording a victim of crime the opportunity to appeal certain commission decisions to Cook County Chief Judge Paul Biebel over the criminal division, and to allow for the Governor Patrick Quinn to appoint the Director that governs the “Commission”, through legislation introduced by Sen.Christine Radogno, R-Lemon and State Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St.Charles, chief co-sponsor, then I will likewise suggest that a torture victim to be appointed to the panel.

I greatly express my sympathy to all who have had to endure the horrible experience of losing a love one because of criminal behavior, however to place someone on this commission that should have knowledge of the past history of Jon Burge and his subordinates but do not, it creates a hindrance to the men that are seeking justice as a result of police torture. While I do not agree with the victim notification rules that apply to these proceedings, as I view them as only another process that allows victim of crime to relive the horrible nightmare that their love one was murdered. This “Commission” was enacted to examine cases of possible torture. It is the position of the panel that innocence nor guilt should only be considered in limited cases. I do not totally agree, Innocenceand guilt does not determine the fact if someone was tortured while in police custody or if it never occurred. Placing a “victim of crime” on this panel affords the petitioner no impartiality. Their vote would be one of the Chicago Police Department, County Prosecutors, and what their organizations would require of this member.

The integrity of justice have been under attack by “victim Rights’” groups that believe what they have been told by police and prosecutors is the gospel. Some of these people strongly disagree that the wrongful convictions of Daniel Taylor, Nicole Harris, and Stanley Wrice were the sole product of police coercion. These are people that were recently released out of Illinois prisons that should not have been in prison for crimes they had been convicted of committing. All were found to have been psychologically tortured by Chicago police while some were likewise physically tortured. All confessed,all were determined to have been innocent. In most cases where men and women have been wrongful convicted and released, State prosecutors oppose their “Certificate of Innocence”. Despite being released and proven innocent, City nor County officials have stepped up to provide them compensation.

When Wrice was released after 31 years of incarceration behind a wrongful conviction he had to depend on a family member. Absent that family member, Wrice would be in a halfway house. It is only fair for the City and County to take immediate measures to ensure that people that were sent to Illinois prisons as a result of Burge tortures and wrongful conviction be provided with compensation that will not allow them to suffer from an apartment and job upon two weeks of release. Releasing someone after they have served 20 years like Taylor, and 8 years like Harris pose a burden on families and friends to accept people into their households that must be dependent upon them to accomplish re-entry back into society. They have all suffered traumatic experiences,however have been denied all opportunity to medical care, psychological treatment and vocational training.

Crime victims must understand that they have no experience with wrongful convictions nor the pattern of systematic torture that was allowed to occur under Burge. During the “Commission” meetings in which “Crime victims and their organizations” appeared, they could only offer information as to what was told to them by police, they are steadfast in their belief that police arrested the right person and that person should not be allowed to proceed with his claim of torture. This panel responsibility is not to re-adjudicate the “innocence nor guilt” of the petitioner, however they have only proved hearsay while attempting tore-adjudicate the issue of “innocence and guilt” as they explain the horrifying accounts of what police have told them how they love one died. Crime victims were not inside the interrogation room, they can provide what they were told.

This “commission” needs to remain impartial free from political hands and the members of the “Commission” must keep the flexibility as to who should be hired as the Director. To provide “crime Victims”legislation to repeal rulings made by the commission would keep the cases tied between courts while someone that is innocent sits inside a prison cell. If a Crime Victim is appointed to the “Commission” its only fair that a victim of Burge tortures be likewise appointed to the “Commission”.

Mark A. Clements

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