EDITORIALS: Lessons of the Jackie Wilson Murder Trial Saga
By: Chicago Sun-Times Editorials
We are disgusted, too.
A judge on Thursday ordered a new trial for a convicted cop killer, Jackie Wilson, ruling that his two previous trials were unfair because a key piece of evidence against him was extracted through police torture.
We, like so many Chicagoans, are disgusted that almost 40 years after two honorable police officers were killed, their families have not been granted the small peace that might come with an end to this judicial farce.
But we also know the judge was doing his job — and doing it right.
The blame for this endless travesty lies not with the judge, or with Wilson’s defense attorneys. The blame lies with a crew of rogue officers who once had so little respect for our criminal justice system that they beat confessions out of suspects. Now those bad confessions, transparently worthless, continue to haunt.
The simple hard truth is that Jackie Wilson, whatever the character of the man, has yet to receive a fully fair trial. And our disgust is with the original sin of police torture.
As Cook County Circuit Court Judge William Hooks thoroughly documented in a 119-page opinion, former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his associates at the time of the slayings routinely tortured African-American men to get confessions, including Wilson.
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