Judge opens door for state's attorney to handle alleged Jon Burge-era cases

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Cook County judge ruled Wednesday he will look at on-going cases linked to disgraced police Commander Jon Burge, and decide if each case should stay with a special prosecutor or be handed off to Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. told Special Prosecutor Bob Milan to make a list of all the Burge-era cases and where they stand legally. The list is due in two weeks.

"I am using a scalpel and not a sledge hammer," said Martin, who will then decide the prosecutor case-by-case, either Milan or Foxx.

Nearly 20 years ago, the cases were moved from the Cook County State's Attorney's Office because of a conflict of interest with prosecutors. Former state's attorneys Dick Devine and Anita Alvarez did not handle the cases at all, but the judge determined Foxx can.

"I do think that the current state's attorney is not disqualified and can pick some of these matters up," Martin said during court.

However, his decision sparked mixed reaction.

Inmate Gerald Reed, whose attorneys fought to have Milan removed from his case, will still have the special prosecutor handling the case, not Foxx. Judge Martin said the case is too far along, especially since a hearing Friday will determine if Reed is retried for murder or the case tossed out altogether.

Reed's mother, Armanda Shakelford, has been at every hearing.

"I'm concerned about him coming home Friday. That's my main concern," Shakelford said.

James Gibson was also in court Wednesday. His torture case was dropped in April, and now he wants a certificate of innocence.

Gibson said he would prefer to have Foxx handle the matters in his case, not Milan.

"Who I want on the case would be the elected official, that's the law," Gibson said. "Kim Foxx is the elected official."

Gibson was accused of killing two men, Lloyd Benjamin and Hunter Wash, in 1989. Both men do not want Gibson to get an innocence certificate, which would clear his name. They want Milan to stay on the case instead.

"It should stay with Bob Milan," said Cortez Wash, the murder victim's son. "He let us know what's been going on. I believe he's doing very well."

Bill Benjamin, another murder victim's son, agreed.

"Mr. Milan is doing everything he can to see justice is served, and I would like to keep that going."
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