Friday, February 11, 2011

Legislation in the News Contest -- Week Three

Thanks for all the great stories that were submitted this week. The winner this time around is Trish Abbott for this Chicago Tribune story on the lawsuit that Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed to prevent former police commander John Burge from receiving his pension after he was convicted of committing perjury in a civil suit brought by victims of police torture:

Disgraced former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge's pension is once again in jeopardy, just days after the city's police pension board allowed him to continue to collect the $3,039 a month in spite of his criminal conviction.

The board's controversial decision led Attorney General Lisa Madigan to sue Monday to block Burge from pocketing further pension payments, saying "the public should never have to pay for the retirement of a corrupt public official."

The vote by the board of directors of the Policemen's Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago came shortly after Burge was sentenced last month to 41/2 years in prison for lying about the torture and abuse of criminal suspects decades earlier. The decision sparked outrage by Burge's accusers.

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At issue is a state law barring a police officer from receiving a pension if he was convicted of a felony "relating to or arising out of or in connection" with his job.
The board members who favored Burge contended his federal conviction on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice was not related to his job because he had been fired from the force about a decade before he lied in a civil lawsuit about the torture of suspects. But Madigan's lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, maintained that Burge's denials in the 2003 lawsuit were directly related to his work as a police officer.

Keep those cards and letters -- and emails -- coming! The deadline for next week's contest is Friday, February 18 at 9 a.m.

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