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Identifying victims of Burge torture

Identifying victims of Burge torture

When Cook County Criminal Division Judge Paul P. Biebel Jr. needed a neutral legal professional with a background in criminal law to help identify inmates who may have suffered physical torture at the hands of former Chicago Police commander Jon Burge, he turned to Dean David Yellen.

Burge was convicted in 2010—not for the police torture of more than 200 criminal suspects between 1972 and 1991, as the statute of limitations on the claims of abuse had passed, but for obstruction of justice and perjury for lying about his role in the torture.

To do this work, Yellen was assisted by seven Loyola law students. “I couldn’t have begun to sort through 500 letters from inmates and dozens of court files without the integral assistance of these students,” Yellen says. “It’s been a great experience for them; all had at least some background in criminal law, but for most of them, it’s been a much deeper dive into how criminal cases work.”

This article appeared in Loyola Magazine. Read the entire issue →