An Illinois commission set up to investigate claims of police torture is referring its first cases to a judge, and then going out of business, reports the Chicago Tribune. The Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission was launched in 2009, response to the long-standing scandal around former Chicago police Commander Jon Burge and subordinates who were accused of torturing suspects to get confessions.
The state legislature has stripped the commission of its funding, meaning it will go out of business June 30, although the law that created the panel remains on the books. Director David Thomas said his budget was “chump change. But we don’t have a real political constituency. Our people are all in prison. Theoretically, you still have a torture commission. So they can feel good about themselves but not spend any money to fulfill the promise.” the panel had been investigating 100 cases. “The commission and the staff have put an incredible amount of work into these cases,” said member Rob Warden of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University. “But now all of that work is for naught.”