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Ex-Mayor Daley avoids deposition in police torture lawsuit tied to Burge

Stanley Wrice in December 2013 after being released from prison. | File photo

A federal judge will not force former Mayor Richard M. Daley to sit for a deposition in a civil case brought by a man who alleges former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge’s crew tortured him into confessing to a 1982 sexual assault.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan agreed in a 10-page order filed Thursday to quash a subpoena calling for Daley’s deposition, finding that the man who filed the lawsuit, Stanley Wrice, had “failed to demonstrate that Mr. Daley knows what took place” even though he was the Cook County state’s attorney at the time.

Finnegan noted that Daley also mentioned an “undisclosed medical situation” as further reason to scuttle his deposition. She said she put that to the side while she first considered whether Daley is an appropriate witness to call. He’s not, she said.

A lawyer for Stanley Wrice will not get to question former Mayor Richard M. Daley in connection with a police torture case. | AP file photo
A lawyer for Stanley Wrice will not get to question former Mayor Richard M. Daley in connection with a police torture case. | AP file photo

The judge said Richard Devine, who served as first assistant state’s attorney under Daley before later securing the top job himself, has said allegations of abuse that predated Wrice’s arrest were handled by others within the office.

She also noted that Daley, in a sworn statement to special prosecutors in 2006, insisted he had no specific recollection of a letter warning him of abuse claims.

Therefore, the judge said, Wrice has fallen “far short of establishing that Mr. Daley has any relevant direct or personal knowledge” of what happened. She said the record “instead rebuts that suggestion.”

Wrice spent more than 31 years in prison after his 1983 conviction for the sexual assault of a 33-year-old woman who was then burned, an attack that happened over a two-hour period in the attic of the home Wrice shared with his siblings and his sister’s boyfriend, according to his lawsuit.

Wrice said he confessed falsely after being “sadistically tortured” by Sgt. John Byrne and Det. Peter Dignan, who worked under Burge. He also said Byrne and Dignan tortured his sister’s boyfriend into falsely pointing the finger at him.

A judge suppressed Wrice’s confession and ordered a new trial in 2013, prompting prosecutors to dismiss all charges.

However, a different judge later refused to give Wrice a certificate of innocence, saying there was still “substantial evidence” that he “actively participated” in the sexual assault.


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