News 12.11.13

Chicago Man’s Rape Conviction Overturned After 30 Years

Three decades after a Chicago man was convicted of rape and sentenced to 100 years in prison, a Cook County judge overturned his conviction and granted a new trial for the 1982 crime.

 

Stanley Wrice maintained his innocence throughout the years and asserted that two detectives working under former Police Commander Jon Burge beat him until he gave a false confession. Burge was fired in 1993 for his role in the torture and beating of criminal suspects, a number of whom falsely confessed and were wrongfully convicted. He is now serving a four year federal prison term for perjury related to torture allegations. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the victim never identified Wrice as one of her attackers.

 

The paper also reported that a year after missing his daughter Gail Lewis’ wedding, Wrice shared an emotional embrace with her after Judge Richard Walsh gave his ruling.


Police “lied about how they handled the defendant,” Walsh said, adding that Wrice’s claims against former detectives John Byrne and Peter Dignan were “unrebutted.”

At a two-day evidentiary hearing, Byrne and Dingan invoked their Fifth Amendment protections against self incrimination rather than answer questions about the interrogation. Earlier, Bobbie Joe Williams recanted his testimony against Wrice, claiming that he too had been beaten into giving false testimony.

 

Lewis, who was only a year old when her father was arrested for his alleged participation in a brutal gang rape is hopeful that Wrice will be released from the Pontiac Correctional Center on Wednesday after posting a $5,000 recognizance bond.

 

Special Prosecutor Stuart Nudelman must now decide whether he will try Wrice again. Wrice’s attorneys, Jennifer Bonjean and Heidi Lambros said it would be hard to retry their client since two of his co-defendants are dead and all living witnesses have recanted their testimony.


“It took too long, but I’m thrilled that we had the opportunity today to do in two days what could have been done 31 years ago,” Bonjean said.

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