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Jury Selection For Burge Trial Underway

By Marcus Gilmer in News on May 6, 2010 4:00PM

2010_05_06_burge.jpg Jon Burge, the former Chicago Police captain accused of leading a group of officers that allegedly tortured suspects, is finally facing trial. The first step begins today with the start of jury selection. Potential jurors will appear in court to complete a questionnaire and will return to court on May 24 to complete the jury selection process. Because the statue of limitations on possible torture charges have expired, prosecutors are instead going after Burge for perjury and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors say Burge lied in 2003 when asked if he was aware of any acts of torture going on under his command. That was during a wrongful conviction lawsuit filed by Madison Hobley. Hobley was originally convicted of setting the 1987 fire that killed seven people, including his wife and son. He served 13 years in prison before Gov. George Ryan pardoned him in 2003 and in his wrongful conviction lawsuit, Hobley alleged that Burge and his men tortured him in to making a false confession. (When investigators filed no new charges against Hobley for the fire, he was cleared to collect his full settlement).

Several other alleged victims of Burge's torutre have been released from prison over the last year. According to the Tribune, settlements over the four victims released have reached a total of almost $20 million. Burge's defense is being paid by funds from the Fraternal Order of Police.