Moral Low Ground


Stanley Wrice, Tortured Into Confessing to 1982 Rape He Didn’t Commit, Released After 30 Years in Prison

Stanley WriceA Chicago man who was allegedly tortured into confessing to a 1982 rape he did not commit has been released after spending 30 years behind bars.

Stanley Wrice, 59, was sentenced to 100 years in prison after being convicted of sexual assault. Wrice insisted for years that he confessed to the crime after Chicago police officers tortured him. Officers working under Lt. Jon Burge, a former detective who gained notoriety for torturing more than 200 suspects, most of them black men, over a nearly 20-year period in order to coerce confessions, allegedly beat Wrice in the groin and face with a flashlight and a 20″ (50cm) length of rubber.

A witness testified at a hearing on Tuesday that Chicago police tortured him into falsely implicating Wrice in the rape case.

Wrice was freed from Pontiac Correctional Center in Pontiac on Wednesday. In ordering his release, Judge Richard Walsh said Chicago police officers “lied” about how they treated Wrice.

“It’s just an overwhelming feeling of joy, happiness that finally it’s over,” Wrice said following his release. Wrice reportedly played basketball with his grandchildren before enjoying a good night’s sleep as a free man for the first time since young Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were burning up the NBA and Michael Jackson’s Thriller was the nation’s top-selling album.

The Associated Press reports Wrice will not be retried for the rape.

The city of Chicago has paid out more than $80 million to settle torture lawsuits against its police officers. That figure could soar as the result of a class-action lawsuit. The torture allegations pushed then-Gov. George Ryan, a Democrat, to declare a moratorium on executions in the state in 2000. Ryan commuted the death sentences of every condemned prisoner three years later.

No Chicago police officers have ever been convicted of torture, although Burge is serving a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice for lying about having witnessed or participated in the torture of suspects.

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