by P. J. McNeal, The Chicago Times
CHICAGO — Robert Smith wrongly convicted and sentenced 33 years ago for a crime he claims he did not commit is suing the City and detectives implicated in tactics approved by infamous Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge for $66 million.
Smith’s attorney Stuart Chanen said:
“No amount of money will constitute ‘justice’ for what the defendants did to Robert Smith but the City could at least help bend the arc of the moral universe in that direction by admitting what these defendants did and compensating Robert for the 33 years of his life that were lost.”
September 19, 1987, Robert Smith, then 39, was arrested for the murder of his wife’s mother and grandmother. According to Smith, Chicago Police Officers brutally beat his chest and subjected him to threats and measured suffocation torture until he confessed. As a result, Smith was convicted of the double murders in 1990.
In light of the illegal torture tactics by disgraced CPD Commander Burge, now deceased, the Cook County special prosecutor made steps to vacate Smith’s sentence on Oct. 23, 2020. Burge was later fired in 1993 and convicted on two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of perjury in 2010.
Smith’s lawsuit seeks $33 million in compensatory damages and $33 million in punitive damages. Since 2018, Chicago has paid over $113 million in police misconduct related lawsuits.