Bringing In Burge

Judge says go get him; but Burge may take 5th

Former Chicago police commander Jon Burge, long the subject of torture allegations, may finally see the inside of a courtroom.

Cook County Judge Clayton Crane ruled on Wednesday that Burge can be compelled to testify in the appeal of Cortez Brown, who claims he was beaten into two false murder confessions by officers working under Burge.

In his decision, Crane said that Burge was a "material witness" whose testimony was necessary to Brown's defense.

Brown's lawyers still must get a judge in Florida, where Burge lives, to actually issue the subpoeana.

"Though Burge is not alleged to have taken part in the alleged abuse, Brown's lawyers contend that he created a culture in which detectives under his command knew such behavior was condoned and protected," the Tribune reports.

Getting Burge into a courtroom doesn't mean he'll talk, though.

"[Brown's lawyers] said they expect Burge and his former detectives to exercise their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination," the Tribune reports.

"The really significant thing is that we're now going to have Burge in here," attorney Flint Taylor told the paper. "He's going to take the 5th, but that's important in a post-conviction hearing because the judge can draw inference from that."

Brown is currently serving life without parole; his death sentence was commuted by former Gov. George Ryan.

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