Lawyers Seek Hearings for Alleged Burge Victims - NBC Chicago

Lawyers Seek Hearings for Alleged Burge Victims

Countless men remain imprisoned despite "credible claims" their confessions were coerced through torture, attorney say



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    Locke Bowman is the legal director of the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center and attorney for the class.

    Attorneys on Tuesday filed a class-action petition asking a judge to grant hearings for all of the men who remain imprisoned despite "credible claims" their confessions were coerced through torture by former police Commander Jon Burge and his subordinate officers.

    "It is time. It is past time for there to be closure in the Burge scandal," said Locke Bowman, the legal director of the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center. "[If] you don't have full and fair hearings [and] you leave these men incarcerated without getting to the bottom of this problem and you have an indelible stain on the Illinois criminal justice system [and] you have a scandal that won't end."

    Burge, the former commander for Area 2, is currently serving a 4.5 year sentence on obstruction of justice and perjury charges.

    Joey Mogul, a partner at the People's Law Office and an attorney in the class-action petition, said judges around the country faced with similar allegations have "abandoned legal technicalities and they have vacated scores of convictions."

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    Former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge is currently serving 4.5 years in prison on perjury charges. While he can never be tried on allegations of torture, many alleged victims have filed civil lawsuits. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it's time to settle those suits and move forward.
    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011)

    "It is unconscionable for us to do nothing," he said.

    Jeannette Plummer spoke on behalf of her son, Johnny Plummer, who was 15 when he was arrested in connection with a 1991 murder. He's now serving a life sentence.

    "Twenty one years is wasted. My son needs to come home, and so do the other men," said Jeannette Plummer as held a small poster of her son. "It's long overdue. I hope we get justice for Johnny."

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    Mogul said Johnny Plummer confessed to the crime after being threatened, beaten with a flashlight and had his hair pulled by detectives under Burge's command. has reached out to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office for comment on the filing.

    Full Coverage: Jon Burge