CHICAGO (CN) – A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against former Cook County State’s Attorney Richard A. Devine for his role in the conviction of a Chicago man who claims he was tortured by notorious Area 2 Commander Jon Burge, to coerce his confession of murder.
Leroy Orange was arrested the day after four people were killed in a Chicago apartment. He says Burge suffocated him with a bag, tortured him with electric shock and beat him. He was convicted, sentenced to death and spent 19 years on Death Row before being pardoned by then-Gov. George Ryan.
After Ryan pardoned him and other death row inmates, Orange filed a civil rights suit accusing Devine, Burge and others of due process violations, wrongful conviction, and conspiracy.
Burge has been repeatedly accused of using torture to extract confessions from hundreds of criminal suspects at Area 2. His team allegedly employed a variety of methods including suffocation, mock executions, burns with a radiator, and electrically shocking suspects’ genitals and rectums using a cattle prod, a device known as a violet wand, and an old-style hand-cranked telephone that produces electricity.
U.S. District Judge Holderman was not persuaded that Devine violated Orange’s due process rights or concealed evidence of the Area 2 practices, as Devine claimed to have acquired that evidence long after Orange did.
Judge Holderman also reasoned that, although Burge invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in this case and Devine may have become aware of Burge’s work through his early involvement in other Area 2 cases before becoming State’s Attorney, Devine and Burge’s team could not have conspired against Orange since they were unacquainted with him before the incident.