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Andrews v. Burge

August 25, 2009

JAMES ANDREWS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JON BURGE; DANIEL MCWEENY; RAYMOND MADIGAN; LEROY MARTIN; RICHARD BRZECZEK; WILLIAM MERRITT; RICHARD M. DALEY; RICHARD DEVINE; CITY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS; AND COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge James B. Zagel

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff James Andrews has alleged a pattern and practice of torture and abuse during interrogations of criminal suspects at the Area Two Detective Violent Crimes Unit of the Chicago Police Department. Andrews seeks to recover damages for the more than 24 years he says he was wrongfully imprisoned as a result of Defendants' unconstitutional conduct and for the unconstitutional policies and procedures that allowed those illegal actions to occur. Specifically, Andrews claims that over the course of approximately 18 hours on April 26-27, 1983, under the coordination, direction, and supervision of Defendant former Chicago Police Lieutenant Jon Burge, Defendant former Chicago Police Commander of Area Two Leroy Martin, and Defendant former Chicago Police Superintendent Richard Brzeczek, Defendants former Chicago Police Detectives Daniel McWeeny and Raymond Madigan physically, verbally, and psychologically tortured Andrews until he confessed to two murders that he did not commit.

I. Factual Background*fn1

A. Policy and Practice of Torture at Area Two

Plaintiff alleges that from the time Defendant Burge was placed in charge of the Violent Crimes Unit at Area Two in 1981, Burge instituted a policy and practice pursuant to which he and detectives working under his command tortured defendants to extract confessions. In February 1982, Defendant Brzeczek sent Defendant Daley a letter advising Daley of allegations that Chicago Police Detectives in Area Two were involved in the torture of Andrew Wilson. Brzeczek relayed to Daley that Dr. John Raba examined Wilson after he had been in the custody of Burge at Area Two and determined that Wilson had been tortured. Dr. Raba called for "a thorough investigation of this alleged brutality."

During the course of a subsequent investigation, Daley provided the Brzeczek letter to Defendant Devine. Neither Daley, Devine, nor Brzeczek took any actions to investigate the allegations of torture surrounding Wilson. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Martin was aware of the accusations contained in the Brzeczek letter.

According to Plaintiff, other allegations of torture in Area Two put Defendants Brzeczek, Martin, Daley, and Devine on notice that Defendant Burge and his subordinates had instituted the practice of torture at Area Two. From 1981 - 1988, at least 55 persons (including Plaintiff) alleged that they had been tortured at Area Two. Many of those persons filed motions to suppress outlining their allegations.

B. Plaintiff's Custodial Interrogation and Confessions

On April 26, 1983, Andrews voluntarily accompanied two Chicago Police officers to Area Two after they visited Andrews' home and told him that they wanted to question him about a dog fight in the neighborhood. After arriving at Area Two, the officers placed Andrews in an interrogation room and handcuffed him to a metal ring attached to the wall. Shortly thereafter, Defendants McWeeny and Madigan began questioning Plaintiff about the murders of Floyd Jenkins and Keith Lewis. When Andrews denied any involvement in the murders, Defendants McWeeny and Madigan began using physical violence and psychological abuse to coerce Andrews into making incriminating statements. Specifically, McWeeny and Madigan yelled at Andrews, called him names, violently grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, repeatedly struck him with a police flashlight, and punched him repeatedly with their fists.

After many hours of subjecting Andrews to these abusive interrogation tactics, both detectives left the room. A short while later Madigan returned with a pen and some paper and attempted to coach Andrews on the details of the murders. Madigan went over the story several times, outlined what he wanted Andrews to include in a statement to the State's Attorney, and warned Andrews that he must answer the questions asked by the State's Attorney "correctly." Throughout the "coaching," Madigan struck Andrews several more times with his fist and with his police flashlight.

After Madigan finished coaching Andrews, Defendant Merritt entered the interrogation room. Andrews did not provide Merritt with a confession, nor did he relate the "correct" story. The interview was stopped. Merritt said to Madigan words to the effect of "I thought you told me he was ready. He's not ready."

A short while later, Madigan called Merritt and McWeeny, along with a court reporter, back into the interrogation room. While Madigan remained in the room, Andrews confessed to murdering one of the two victims by reciting the "story" that Madigan had presented to him. By this time, Andrews had been in the interrogation room for eight hours.

After the first confession, Madigan and McWeeny started the process of physical and psychological torture all over again. About four hours later, Andrews confessed to the second murder.

At 3 a.m. on April 27, 1983, Andrews made a phone call to his mother, Grace Andrews, from the police station. He told her he had been beaten and kept in an interrogation room since noon of the previous day. He told his mother that the officers would have killed him if he had not signed the confessions.

C. Plaintiff's Criminal Trials

At suppression hearings in October 1984, Andrews testified that he had been coerced, through torture, into giving confessions. Judge Philip J. Carey denied Andrews' motions to suppress the confessions, and Andrews was convicted of the two murders. During both the Lewis and Jenkins trials, prosecutors presented no physical evidence linking Andrews to the alleged crimes. Andrews alleges that during the trials Defendants hid evidence from Andrews and from the court that Defendant Burge and certain detectives under his command (including Defendants Madigan and McWeeny) had been accused of torturing other defendants. Following the trials, Judge Carey sentenced Andrews to two natural life terms in prison.

D. Plaintiff's Exoneration

Andrews further alleges that over the next decade evidence accumulated that Defendants Burge, Madigan, and McWeeny, as well as other Area Two detectives, engaged in systematic torture of defendants in order to unconstitutionally extract confessions. Indeed, by March 1999, a federal judge recognized that "[i]t is now common knowledge that in the early to mid-1980s Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and many officers working under him regularly engaged in the physical abuse and torture of prisoners to extract confessions." United States ex. rel. Maxwell v. Gilmore, 37 F. Supp. 2d 1078, 1094 (N.D. Ill. 1999).*fn2

Based on this new evidence, Andrews filed a post-conviction petition in May 2004, arguing that had Judge Carey known in October 1984 what is now known about the regime of torture in Area Two, Judge Carey would have granted Andrews' motion to suppress. Andrews further argued that because there was no physical evidence linking him to either crime, had the confessions been suppressed he would not have been convicted. After an evidentiary hearing on Andrews' post-conviction petition, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Sumner vacated Andrews' murder convictions on ...


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