Judge's ruling leaves an innocent man on death row
July 12, 2002 | Page 2
"AN INNOCENT man could be executed because all these people are preventing him from getting a new trial to protect their careers." That's what Robin Milan-Hobley told reporters after a Cook County judge refused to grant her brother Madison Hobley--an innocent man on Illinois death row--a new trial.
"Justice didn't prevail in this courtroom," Robin told Socialist Worker. "It's a corrupt system How do you raise your children to do the right thing when the system won't do the right thing?"
Madison is one of the Death Row 10--a group of men who were beaten and tortured by cops working for Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge. In 1987, Madison was convicted of setting a fire that claimed the lives of seven people, including his wife and infant son. But the state's so-called "evidence" is full of holes.
Cops claim that Madison used a gas can to start the fire and that he confessed to tossing the can down a second-floor hallway. Yet a detective sent to the building to look for the can claims to have found it under a sink behind a locked door. Lab results show that Madison's fingerprints weren't on the gas can, which showed no fire damage despite being "found" in the gutted remains of the apartment building.
Madison faced horrific abuse at the hands of Chicago cops. He was handcuffed to a wall, kicked, beaten and suffocated with a plastic typewriter bag until he passed out, as officers tried to make him confess.
Despite police claims that he "confessed," Madison never signed a confession, and no written or taped confession was ever produced at his trial. Why? Because, police say, their notes "got wet."
This absurd claim would be laughable--but for the fact that an innocent man's life is on the line.
Activists had hoped that Madison would finally win a new trial. Instead, the judge denied every one of his petitions.
Madison's family and anti-death penalty activists are planning to protest this grotesque injustice. The Campaign to End the Death Penalty has scheduled a July 10 rally to protest at the offices of Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine.
We can't let this rotten injustice system get away with keeping Madison Hobley on death row!