Man who claims confession was forced under Jon Burge may be released Friday

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago man convicted during the era of police torture under Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge may be set free Friday.

A judge ruled Wednesday that Gerald Reed can get a new trial, but some community activists want the case dropped altogether.

Reed said detectives working under Burge beat him and forced him to confess to a homicide he did not commit in 1990.

Reed has been incarcerated for 28 years, and whether or not he is released is up to special prosecutors. Those prosecutors are paid directly by the Cook County Board and have a wide discretion in the case.

"They do have a lot of latitude, they do have a lot of authority, they do have a lot of discretion - and that always carries some risks," said ABC7 Legal Analyst Gil Soffer. "But they are bound by ethical restrictions the same way the State's Attorney's Office is bound by them."

"These special prosecutors, court-appointed prosecutors, continue to get taxpayers money to prosecute a case that is frivolous," said Frank Chapman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

Reed's attorney's said there are no eyewitnesses no physical evidence that tie Reed to the homicide.

"Circumstantial-only case is viable, but again in this case - he's already served 28 years, the special prosecutor really has to scrub that evidence and make it is worth trying again," said Jeff Cramer, who indicted Burge.

Reed's mother plans to bring an extra set of clothing to court Friday in the hope that Reed will walk out a free man. She said they plan to make his favorite meal - lasagna and lemon meringue pie.
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