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Former Mayor Richard M. Daley subpoenaed to testify in police-torture case

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley

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Updated: August 14, 2013 6:09AM

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley was served with a subpoena Friday to testify at an evidentiary hearing for a rape convict who says he was framed decades ago when Daley was Cook County’s elected state’s attorney.

The legal move involves a post-conviction petition by Stanley Wrice, who was found guilty in a 1982 gang rape but says he was tortured by Chicago Police into giving a false confession.

Daley, the county’s top prosecutor from 1980 to 1989, was subpoenaed through Katten Muchin Rosenman, the law firm with which he is now affiliated.

Wrice, 59, is serving a 100-year prison sentence at the downstate Pontiac Correctional Center after being convicted of charges including rape.

In January, Cook County Circuit Judge Evelyn Clay granted Wrice a hearing on his claims that two detectives from the Chicago Police Department working for then-Cmdr. Jon Burge beat the confession out of him.

Burge is serving a four-year federal prison sentence for perjury in connection with his testimony in a civil case involving allegations that he and his detectives tortured suspects.

The hearing for Wrice is scheduled for Sept. 23. His attorneys plan to ask Daley under oath about what he knew about allegations of torture by police.

“This is not a witch hunt,” said attorney Heidi Lambros, who is handling Wrice’s post-conviction petition without compensation along with New York lawyer Jennifer Bonjean. “Daley was the boss. His prosecutors took the lead from him. Maybe he truly didn’t know, but he should have.”

Also Friday, Wrice’s attorneys served Illinois Appellate Judge Bertina Lampkin with a subpoena to testify at the hearing. Lampkin, who was served with the subpoena at her state office in the Loop, prosecuted Wrice as an assistant state’s attorney working under Daley, Bonjean said.

In 2011, former Gov. Jim Thompson, former U.S. Sen. Adlai Stevenson III and other legal and political heavyweights filed a “friend of the court” brief with the Illinois Supreme Court in support of a hearing for Wrice.

The state’s high court ruled last year that Wrice should receive a hearing because the use of torture to extract a confession “is an egregious violation” of the justice system and “is never a harmless error.”

Prosecutors had unsuccessfully argued that even if Wrice was indeed physically coerced into confessing, that this amounted to a harmless legal error because there was enough evidence to convict him without his confession.

The case was sent back to Clay, who decided that Wrice “successfully established a substantial showing of actual innocence.”

She pointed to an affidavit from witness Bobby Joe Williams recanting his trial testimony that Wrice had been involved in the rape. Northwestern University students, working with David Protess of the Chicago Innocence Project, obtained the sworn statement.

The judge also cited an affidavit from Wrice’s co-defendant Rodney Benson, who admitted he was involved in the rape but said Wrice wasn’t.

In 2011, a federal judge ruled that Daley could be sued as a defendant in another case, a lawsuit involving allegations of police torture. The plaintiffs in that case wanted Daley to testify under oath about what they asserted was a citywide conspiracy to cover up torture.

That case involved a lawsuit by Michael Tillman, who spent 23 years in prison for murder. Tillman claimed Burge’s detectives tortured him into a confession. But in 2012, Tillman received a $5.3 million legal settlement from the city — so Daley never had to sit for a deposition in the case.

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