Law and Disorder Radio – Jon Burge Sentenced – Bill Goodman on the State of Democratic Rights – Human Rights in Honduras Post-Coup – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

Law and Disorder Radio

 Jon Burge, Former Chicago Police Commander, Sentenced to 4 1/2 Years

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve reported on the ongoing developments of the Chicago torture case and former Chicago police commander Jon Burge. Burge has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for obstruction of justice and lying about torturing prisoners to obtain coerced confessions. The People’s Law Office brought the case in 2005 and the city of Chicago refused to settle while pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the case. Attorney with the People’s Law Office Flint Taylor says the city has spent over $10 million in aiding the defense of former Commander Jon Burge. Mr. Burge, who is 63 and in ill health, was fired from the Chicago Police Department in 1993. Attorney Flint Taylor’s Statement on Burge sentencing.

Attorney Flint Taylor:

  • Burge did not do this alone. Many people working under him or with him, those people are under investigation.
  • The city poured millions of dollars into the defense of Burge with private lawyers.
  • There needs to compensation and treatment for all the men that were tortured; that number is in the hundreds.
  • We have a mayoral race here, with 3 Daley clones, none of them have addressed what the judge has said.
  • The judge cited the city and the police department as well as the state’s attorneys office under Richard Daley–a dismal failure of leadership with regard to these cases.
  • To be in the courtroom and hear a judge adopt our view that we fought so hard for, that was very rewarding.
  • People look at the sentence, it’s a little less than five years, of course you should do much more than that for torture. The judge had her hands tied in some degree and she went as high as she could, going double on the guidelines that were recommended.
  • We’ve been raising for decades why Richard Daley didn’t prosecute for torture when he was state’s attorney.
  • The Obama administration’s failure or refusal to prosecute admitted torturers, I’m talking about Bush who in his book admitted that he authorized waterboarding.
  • Chicago is a beacon of light in the fight against torture.
  • We fought for decades here to get the prosecutions, to get the convictions, to get the sentence.

Guest – Attorney Flint Taylor, a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern University School of Law and a founding partner of the People’s Law Office.

State of Democratic Rights – Bill Goodman

We’re joined today by attorney Bill Goodman, former legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). Bill has been an extraordinary public interest lawyer for more than 30 years. He’s served as counsel on issues including post-Katrina social justice, public housing, voting rights, the death penalty, living wage and human rights work in Haiti. Bill delivered a speech recently titled “The State of Democratic Rights,” defining democracy as we now understand it. Every one of these defining points has been attacked or undermined and very little has been done to repair them under the Obama Administration.

Attorney Bill Goodman:

If you want to define or crystallize what American democracy looks like in maybe 7 concepts you can break it down pretty well.

People can’t be detained without good cause and without being charged with a crime in front of an independent magistrate.

They can’t be tortured or punished in ways that are extreme.

They’re allowed to protest publicly. First Amendment rights.

People can’t be discriminated against based upon religion.

Separation of powers, so that no single branch of government becomes overly important or overreaches.

Right to privacy. The government can’t break into our houses, unreasonable search and seizure.

The right to free and fair elections and have our votes counted.

From a lawyers perspective, what I see is an unwillingness of the courts.

It’s shameful that these judges don’t step up to the plate and say that this should not happen and will not happen.

Humanitarian Law v. Holder. There’s a very serious attempt to extend the concepts of terrorism to protesters right here in the United States.

People who work on behalf of the environment, animal rights.

The United States Supreme Court is happy to say that huge corporations can spend as much money as they possibly want to shift and tilt the electoral playing field right here in the United States.

In order to strengthen the Constitution we need active aggressive organized movements.

Within the end of a generation we can see the end of public education in the United States.

Guest – Bill Goodman, former legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has been an extraordinary public interest lawyer for over 30 years, and has served as counsel on issues including post-Katrina social justice, public housing, voting rights, the death penalty, living wage, civil liberties, educational reform, constitutional rights, human rights work in Haiti, and civil disobedience.

Post-Coup Aftermath in Honduras: Sarah Hogarth

Today we are joined by legal worker Sarah Hogarth who has recently returned from a human rights delegation to Honduras through the Friendship Office of the Americas. We talk with her about her observations on the post-coup human rights crisis in that country. As listeners may know, on June 28, 2009, the Honduran military ousted the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. Former parliamentary speaker Roberto Micheletti was sworn in as Zelaya’s replacement. Repressive tactics were used immediately after the coup–people on the front lines who oppose this regime have been beaten and illegally detained by the state. Journalists and LGBT activists were among the first to be targeted and killed. Dr James Cockcroft joins interview.







Sarah Hogarth / James Cockcroft:

  • The purpose was to meet with the movement leaders and the human rights organizations there.
  • Honduras elections broadly considered to be illegitimate. The president who was overthrown brought Honduras into ALBA.
  • The outgoing president was flown out of a US military base in Honduras. The whole world knew this, but the United States said it wasn’t a coup.  Now Wikileaks shows that the ambassador was already telling Washington, it’s a coup.
  • Zelaya was not the most radical of political leaders by any stretch.
  • The resistance movement there is truly an inspiration. The new Honduran regime has instituted anti-terrorism legislation.
  • The community radio movement in Honduras is the primary means to disseminate real news about what’s happening.
  • There was a time after the coup the radio equipment was not only shut down by the military but the equipment destroyed.
  • Withing 48 hours, community radio stations from other Latin American countries rushed to the borders of Honduras to keep communications going into Honduras among the resistors.
  • The people want the money flow to stop funding the new regime.
  • Six thousand Marines were just sent to Costa Rica. Two military bases in Honduras, 6 in Colombia.
  • The whole foreign policy of the United States has been and extension of the Bush policy of militarization of the world.
  • This is being pitched in the context of the war on drugs. Disguise the imperial intervention with the war on drugs.
  • There is an extremely small amount of arable land in Honduras.
  • The level of unity among all these people is truly impressive.
  • Another thing that is discouraging is the extreme privatization that has happened over the past year.
  • They have given away the farm to these large corporations.

Guest – Sarah Hogarth, human rights activist in New York City. She is a freelance legal worker and writer and has recently returned from a human rights delegation to Honduras through the Friendship Office of the Americas. The delegation met with activists to learn about the human rights situation in Honduras in the one year since the elections in November 2009. In June 2009, democratically elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was removed in a military coup d’etat.

Guest – Dr. James Cockcroft, historian and activist. Jim has written 45 books on Latin America. He’s a professor at the State University of New York and is a member of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five.