Unfortunately missing the protests, I somehow managed to get to Lisa Madigan’s speech. And not just to the video room, but “the real one.” (I’m mentioning this, because security was super tight, it almost felt like I’m going to hear the President of the United States speak)
Either way, the room was filled with reporters and seemingly important people. After a brief introduction by another Loyola Law School alumna, Lisa Madigan began her speech, which overall was very well put together (The woman definitely has character and charisma).
A friend of mine that was accompanying me noted that the speech was rather autobiographic, as she spoke about her undergrad studies in Georgetown and adventures in Africa, where she taught a robust group of “hungry for knowledge” students.
Also, she devoted a large portion of her speech to praising “U.S. Senator Paul Simon, an Illinois Democrat who influenced her to reconsider what she wanted to do with her life”
The interesting part came, after a brave protestor who somehow have managed to sneak in, lifted protest papers up in the air. Of course, Lisa Madigan completely disregarded him, while the poor security was struggling to find ingenious ways to get him out of the room. Unsuccessfully.
After the speech, I was intrigued to find out more about Lisa Madigan’s policies, but came accross some controversial information.
On one hand, there was her side, stating that she and her office are “still looking at witness testimony and going back and looking at cases. We are working on a case-by-case basis.” “But the vast majority of the cases are over 20 years old.” So, is the age of the cases the defining factor why they should be ignored? The contrary seems more logical- the very fact that they are over 20 years old, they have not been reviewed properly and no one has been punished for the alleged torture incidents, grants them priority. They are not “just cases,” there are people who might be innocent and wasting away in prison.
I’m not a judge and don’t know all the specifities of all the Burge torture cases, so it would be extremely bias of me to just say “they are all innocent, let them go” and side with some of the protesters. But the point here is not about innocence, it is about the methods confessions were obtained and the right of those inmates to have a “fair and just” trial.
Thus, I think that while Lisa Madigan, might be a great woman who has achieved a lot in her career, I do believe that as of now she has failed to address the Burge Torture Cases approprietly. Hopefully, a new swiftness to the process would be innitiated soon, in order to prevent the unthinkable – innocent lives being wasted in prison.