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Chicago Police Torture Case Revived

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) - The Illinois Supreme Court has given new life to a man who claims Chicago police beat and tortured him into confessing to a rape he did not commit.

Stanley Wrice is serving a 100-year sentence relating to the 1982 attack.

He claims officers working for Chicago police Lt. Jon Burge beat him in the face and groin with a flashlight and rubber hose until he confessed.

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Wrice should be appointed counsel and that his post-conviction case should continue.

The decision affirms an appellate court ruling, which reversed a trial court finding. The trial court agreed with prosecutors, who claimed they had enough evidence to convict Wrice even without the confession.

"In cases, such as the present one, where the defendant does satisfy both prongs of the cause-and-prejudice test, the defendant is yet required to establish the allegations set forth in his postconviction petition," Justice Mary Jane Theis wrote for the court.

"Satisfaction of the test merely allows the petition to proceed; it does not relieve the defendant of his evidentiary burden in the postconviction proceeding."

It is one of many torture allegations leveled against the Chicago Police Department and Burge. Chicago Police have been accused of torturing dozens to hundreds of people between 1972 and 1991, to get confessions to crimes.

Burge was fired in the early 1990s and several convictions and sentences involving him and his officers have been reduced or reversed.

The torture allegations prompted former Illinois Gov. George Ryan to put a moratorium on the state's death penalty, after investigation revealed innocent people on Death Row, some attributed to confessions gained by Burge's alleged torture.

Burge was arrested in October 2008 on obstruction of justice and perjury charges. He was convicted on June 28, 2010 and is serving a 4½ -year sentence in federal prison.

Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride and Justices Charles E. Freeman, Rita B. Garman, Lloyd A. Karmeier and Anne M. Burke concurred with Theis.

Justice Robert R. Thomas did not take part in the decision.

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