Chicago's Dirty War of Torture

The Assistant States Attorneys



The People's Law Office estimated more than 185 former and current assistant state's attorneys have worked on torture cases or supervised others who did.

Peter Troy, ASA

Patterson further testified that a second ASA, Peter Troy, came in sometime the next day with Detective Madigan, he first agreed to make a statement then refused to do so or to sign a written statement which Troy had written out. Id., pp. 422-34. 50 Aaron Patterson testified that he continued to refuse to sign the statement, ASA Troy physically attacked him, and then Detective Daniel McWeeney entered the room, professed not to be involved in the prior brutality, and urged him to cooperate because the other detectives "could do something serious to him if he didn't." Id., pp. 422-435.

Jack Hynes, ASA

Prosecuted Aaron patterson despite knoweldge of torture. Rose to circuit court judge, only to have Tribune reporters Ken Armstrong and Maurice Possley point out that as a state's attorney he had had two cases reversed because he had discriminated against members of minorities during jury selection. The Chicago Bar Association and the Cook County Bar Association called for his dismissal, and the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission may investigate whether Hynes lied on his application to become a judge by omitting mention of having been rebuked by a higher court.

Lawrnence Hyman, ASA

States he saw no signs of torture when he questioned Andrew Wilson, Although Wilson did have a cut eyelid and bloodshot eye, said he heard no screaming or breaking glass while waiting to take Wilson's confession. After 13 hours in the custody of Area 2 police, Wilson gave a statement in which he confessed to the murders of officers Fahey and O'Brien. The statement was taken by ASA Hyman in the presence of Detective O'Hara and a court reporter .Hyman could not explain why he waited 13 hours to interrogate Wilson, time used by Burge et al to torture a confession. ASA Mike Angarola was also present while Wilson was being tortured. In voir dire for the Wilson trial, the ASAs struck 20 African American potential jurors ( Chi Trib Nov 14, 1999).

Lori Levin, ASA

On the witness stand Leonard Hinton said that he'd told ASA Lori Levin that he'd been beaten, whereupon she left the room, the detectives returned, and he received another beating. He said Levin came back later and offered him a cigarette, but when he repeated that he'd been abused she left again and another torture session followed. Asked for comment, Levin, now supervisor of the state's attorney's Seniors and Persons With Disabilities Division, referred the question to Devine's press spokesman. "We vehemently disagree with those allegations," Jerry Lawrence said.

William Kunkle, ASA. Later one of Jon Burge's defense attorney.

The prosecutor who first convicted Andrew Wilson of murdering officers Fahey and O'Brien. In 1985, having left the state's attorney's office for Phelan Pope and John, he returned to the criminal courts as special prosecutor in Wilson's retrial, and he again prevailed. Later defended Burge, Yucaitis, and O'Hara in brutality case. During the course of a deposition taken in Pontiac in December 1988, Wilson broke down while he was talking about being shocked. Kunkle's response was to smile broadly and say "I love to see him cry." Kunkle won fame for prosecuting John Wayne Gacy. Michael Angarola was also an ASA in the case.

Other city paid Burge defense lawyers were James McCarthy and Maureen Murphy, both from the office of the corporation counsel--sat behind Wilson's attorneys. They played second fiddle to the third table, where sat William Kunkle, defender of the four accused policemen, and his associate Jeffrey Rubin. Corporation counsel McCarthy, in the Wilson civil suit, suggested that he and Wilson attorney Flint Taylor should settle their differences with their fists While defense attorneys from the People's Law Office llabored for nine years without a paycheck, the city steadily paid more than $850,000 to William Kunkle and other private attorneys who defended the police, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars more on its own defense.

Kenneth Zelazo, ASA

Prosecuted Aaron Patterson despite ample evidence of torture. Patterson had used a paper clip to scrawl in blood on the wall of his cell. Those messages were later discovered intact by Isaac Carothers, an investigator with the public defender's office and now 29th Ward alderman. According to an affidavit filed by Carothers, one etching read as follows:

Aaron 4-30-86
I lied about murders
Police threatened me with
violence, slapped and
suffocated me with plastic
(no phone)
(no lawyer)
(no Dad)

Despite this chilling evidence, Assistant state's attorneys Zelazo and Hynes persuaded th jury to sentence Patterson to death.. He was later pardoned by Governor George Ryan on the basis of actual innocense and the use of torture. Patterson's dad was a distinguished Chicago Police officer.

Kip Owen, ASA

Prosecuted Aaron Patterson and knew of torture. Owen achieved some notoriety in 1998 when he charged two boys, ages seven and eight, with the murder of 11-year-old Ryan Harris. Owen and the two other assistant state's attorneys who worked on the case dropped the charges after receiving a crime lab report that semen had been found on the girl's clothes (the possibility of semen being produced by a seven- or eight-year-old is highly remote). DNA in the semen was later found to match that of a man charged with the rapes of three girls aged 10, 11, and 15.

Dennis Dernbach, felony review supervisor, States Attorney's Office

Came into the interrogation room where Leonard Kidd was being tortued. "I told him that the police were trying to kill me," Kidd said in his affidavit. "The prosecutor said, 'He's not ready yet,' and walked out." Dernbach, now a judge, might have had reason to be suspicious about the treatment of suspects at Area Two. Only six months earlier he'd represented the state at a hearing in the case of Alonzo Smith, who said he'd been beaten and "bagged" by Detective Peter Dignan and Sergeant John Byrne in the basement of Area Two. Dernbach was supervisor of felony review from 1983 to 1986. Before he moved to another position in the state's attorney's office, at least six other men arrested on his watch testified that they'd been shocked or suffocated; one more told his tale of abuse to OPS.

Former Superintendent Brzeczek said: "Put it this way--I have never heard in my career in the police department, nor have I had it brought to my attention since I left the police department, that somebody from felony review reported that a prisoner was claiming abuse. I see a lot of incestual activity going on between felony review and the detective division. The state's attorneys, instead of examining the situation and looking at it objectively, they basically take the police officer's word for it, rubber-stamp it, and bang, that's it. In felony review you have young assistants with limited experience, and you've got older, experienced detectives, and I think the assistants are intimidated. They both have the same objective in mind, putting people in jail."

Cecil Partee, ASA

Prosecuted Gregory Banks despite evidence of torture. On December 28, 1989, an appellate court panel of three judges headed by Dom Rizzi, ruling in the case of Gregory Banks, indicated a strong belief that the Area Two detectives in the case were lying when they claimed Banks had been injured trying to escape. Rizzi said a previous suffocation and beating case involving the same officers 13 months earlier should have been allowed into evidence. "Trial judges must bear in mind that while we no longer see cases involving the use of the rack and thumbscrew to obtain confessions, we are seeing cases, like the present case, involving punching, kicking, and placing a plastic bag over a suspect's head to obtain confessions." The victims, Rizzi wrote, are "invariably the poorest, the weakest and the least educated, who are not sophisticated enough or do not have the resources to see and ensure that they are not denied the protections afforded by the rights and guarantees of our constitution."

Andrea Zopp, First Assistant States Attorney

Discussed the Burge cases with OPS director Fogel in 1990, left the U.S. attorney's office and joined O'Malley's staff in 1991, and in December 1992 she became his first assistant state's attorney. Did nothing to pursue prosecution.

Michael Ficaro, ASA

Made an appearance in the Burge matter in teh 1980s. . Ficaro, a former high-ranking assistant state's attorney and a first assistant attorney general, is the author of various training materials for prosecutors, which is what brought him to the witness stand during the Police Board hearings into the alleged torture of cop killer Andrew Wilson. On March 6, 1991, Ficaro was called to testify by Burge's attorney, not to support Burge's innocence but to address the conduct of Lawrence Hyman, the assistant state's attorney who had taken Wilson's confession. In taking that statement, Hyman, a veteran prosecutor, made a spectacular omission, failing to ask if the confession had been given voluntarily.

Margaret Stanton McBride, ASA. Later Appellate Judge (see below)

McBride was the prosecutor on duty at a 1986 bond hearing when Aaron Patterson, charged with a double murder, said that he'd been suffocated with a plastic bag and beaten by detectives at Area Two and that an assistant state's attorney had "physically abused" him and "tried to force me to sign a written statement that he conjured up." Judge Frank Gembala told McBride she was "on notice" to investigate Patterson's story, but the state's attorney's office has never produced documentation proving that any investigation took place. Patterson was convicted and sentenced to death, and Governor Ryan pardoned him in 2003

Jack Steed, ASA

Prosecuted Stanley Howard who after his confession was hospitalized due to his torture by Burge et al.

Stephen Garcia, ASA

Prosecuted LeRoy Orange in Judge Locallo's courtroom. Discounted and dismissed claims of torure.

Peter Troy and William Lacey, ASAs

Prosecuted Aaron Patterson

James McCarthy, ASA

Prosecuted Michael Johnson

Robert Moore, Michael Cahill, ASAs

Prosecuted Sylvester Green

Gil Grossi, Nancy Martin, ASAs

Prosecuted Leonard

John Lerner, ASA

Knew Lavert Jones was tortured. Told by Jones during beating according to OPS CR 203390 Sustained Summary Report

_____Lucanich, ASA

Prosecuted Ronald Kitchen in 1990.

Michael Cahill, Robert Carter, ASAs

Prosecuted James Cody

Joel Goldstein, ASA

Prosecuted Melvin Jones

Henry Simmons, ASA,

Prosecuted Ronald Kitchern

Michael Spivack Robert Raab Edward Stein, ASAs,

Prosecuted James Lewis