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Madison Hobley deserves justice

by SUSAN DWYER | August 3, 2001 | Page 2

CHICAGO--Madison Hobley should be walking free today. But a judge postponed Madison's hearing last month to give prosecutors one more chance to cobble together the crumbling case that sent Madison to death row 12 years ago.

On September 17, prosecutors will have to respond to expert testimony refuting the main physical evidence used to convict Madison of arson and murder.

The evidence is a gas can that Madison is accused of using to start a fire in his own apartment building. Police claim that they found the can inside the gutted building after the fire. Yet as Madison's lawyers and several local journalists have pointed out, the can has little fire damage on it.

If authorities have dragged out this case, it's because they have a lot to hide. Madison is a member of the Death Row 10--a group of men on Illinois death row who were tortured by Chicago cops to force confessions out of them. There are at least 66 men in Illinois prisons who were torture victims of former police Commander Jon Burge and his detectives.

But, while widely acknowledged--Burge was forced out of the police department years ago because of the allegations--local officials have refused even to investigate the cases of the men who were sent to jail by the torturers. Maybe that's because the state's attorney while Burge's torture gang was operating was none other than Richard Daley, now the mayor of Chicago. His right-hand man was Dick Devine, who now holds the state's attorney job.

Members of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, along with other groups, have been working to win justice for the Death Row 10. They see the publicity around Madison's case as a new opportunity to press their fight for a special prosecutor to investigate Chicago's police torturers.

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