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CRIMINAL (IN)JUSTICE: Court postpones hearing for death row inmate

The court has once again postponed a critical hearing for Illinois death row inmate Aaron Patterson until April 5, when a judge is expected to decide if Patterson deserves a new trial. A ruling for Patterson could ultimately open the door for his freedom and the possibility that information about years of systemic police torture will finally be heard in open court. Cook County States Attorney Dick Devine has repeatedly blocked new trials and evidentiary hearings for death row inmates who were tortured by Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and his associates -- and Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan has supported Devine's efforts in Patterson's case. But Amnesty International and the City of Chicago Goldston Report have documented patterns of police torture of arrestees that include Patterson, whose case has also been documented in news reports by the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Reader, Mother Jones Magazine, and Chicago Indymedia. The City of Chicago fired Burge for torture in 1993 but his victims remain in prison, including on death row.

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