Huffington Post | January 11, 2011
One of the most notorious figures in Chicago police brutality is asking for a light sentence based on having fought in Korea and Vietnam.
Former police commander Jon Burge is believed to have overseen the torture of dozens if not hundreds of suspects, almost all of them black men, to extract confessions at the Area 2 police headquarters. During Burge's trial last summer, witnesses testified that he personally shackled, electrocuted, suffocated and beat them to force their admissions of guilt.
At that trial, Burge was ultimately convicted -- not of torture, for which the statute of limitations had expired, but of perjury, for lying to a jury in 2003 when he said he had no knowledge of any such practices happening on his watch. "If Al Capone went down for taxes, it's better than him going down for nothing," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said.
Prosecutors have hoped for a substantial sentence for Burge, seeking anywhere from 24 to 30 years of jail time. The probation department, however, recommended a much shorter term, between 15 and 21 months.
Burge's lawyers apparently weren't satisfied. The Chicago Sun-Times reports Tuesday that they're seeking a still-shorter term for the convicted former cop. The reason: his military service record.
"He attained the rank of staff sergeant and received the Bronze Star medal for actions taken in ground operations against hostile forces as well as four Army Commendation medals," Burge's lawyers wrote in a recent filing, according to the paper.
His age and ill health -- he is 63 and has cancer -- were also cited as reasons to shorten his sentence.
Sentencing will take place on January 20.