Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Convicted Burge wants light sentence based on service in Korea, Vietnam

Onetime Chicago Police commander Jon Burge, ousted from his police job in 1993, is asking a judge to limit his prison sentence in part because of his “dedication and service to this country.”

Burge, who is 63 and has cancer, called a recent calculation by federal prosecutors that he could face up to 30 years in prison “far-fetched.”

Burge was convicted last summer of perjury and obstruction of justice related to the way he gave answers in a lawsuit that claimed he and underlings tortured murder suspects who were in Chicago Police custody. He’s scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 20.

In a recent filing, Burge’s lawyers said he should get a break below the 15- to 21-month sentencing range recommended by the probation department. They offered up his tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam as part of the reasoning as well as his age and health.

“He attained the rank of staff sergeant and received the Bronze Star medal for actions taken in ground operations against hostile forces as well as four Army Commendation medals,” Burge’s lawyers wrote.

They were responding to a filing by prosecutors who called for a substantial sentence for Burge. They didn’t specify a recommended sentence but said he should face a range of up to 30 years in prison.

Meanwhile, attorneys in the case are scheduled to meet in court Wednesday as Burge’s lawyers ask that the judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, recuse herself from sentencing Burge. Lefkow testified in the 2004 trial of white supremacist Matthew Hale after she was the subject of Hale’s threat. The neo-Nazi was convicted of ordering a hit on Lefkow. The main prosecutor in the Hale case was also the chief prosecutor in Burge’s case and may have met with Lefkow to prep her testimony, Burge’s lawyers argued.

“The aforementioned prosecutor/judge relationship is of the type that reasonably calls the impartiality of the court into question,” Burge’s lawyers wrote.

By Natasha Korecki, Federal Courts Reporter

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

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