Case for convicted rapist bumped to chief judge
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter September 11, 2013 10:30AM
Updated: October 15, 2013 6:36AM
Cook County Criminal Courts Chief Judge Paul Biebel said Wednesday that he will ask Chief Judge Timothy Evans to decide who will preside over the post-conviction matter of convicted rapist Stanley Wrice.
Wrice, now 59, claims detectives working under disgraced Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge tortured him into giving a false confession to a 1982 gang rape. Wrice is currently serving a 100-year prison sentence.
Last week, Wrice’s attorney asked Biebel to send the case to Evans so Evans could possibly assign a judge outside the county as he did in the involuntary manslaughter case of former Mayor Richard Daley’s nephew Richard “R.J.” Vanecko.
Although Evans can keep Wrice’s case in the county, “it’s a very good sign” Biebel sent the matter to him, Jennifer Bonjean said after the brief hearing before Biebel.
Bonjean, who is seeking to free Wrice, said Biebel’s ruling shows that he is “taking our request seriously.”
The New York-based attorney cited Judge Evelyn Clay’s recent recusal in Wrice’s case and the subpoenas Daley and Appellate Court Judge Bertina Lampkin in Wrice’s upcoming evidentiary hearing as her reasons for wanting the matter to be heard outside the county.
Daley and Lampkin were subpoenaed in July to testify at the hearing, which had been scheduled Sept. 23. Daley was the Cook County state’s attorney when Wrice was convicted, and Lampkin was a prosecutor on the case.
Although Clay would only say she had a conflict of interest because “this court knows some of the parties involved,” Bonjean assumes the judge was pointing to her past dealings with Daley and Lampkin.
All current Cook County judges have ties with Daley and Lampkin, and therefore, an “instinct to protect” them, Bonjean said at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse Wednesday.
Based on this “perfect storm of circumstances” the post-conviction matter must go to a judge outside the building, she said.