Federal Judge Elaine Bucklo has denied prosecutorial immunity to former Illinois Assistant State Attorney Mark Lukanich in a law suit brought by Ronald Kitchen who spent 21 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Kitchen’s confession was extracted during the reign of disgraced imprisoned former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, notorious for torturous interrogations. Kitchen says that Lukanich was aware of his torture because he was nearby during the interrogation. The judge has ruled that Lukanich’s alleged role was part of the investigative part of the case and therefore not covered by prosecutorial absolute immunity.
Nearly a year ago, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, Judge Bucklo wondered aloud why the City of Chicago had sent an army of lawyers to fight the law suit brought by Kitchen. “I don’t understand this case. Why don’t you settle? [Kitchen] was declared innocent. Burge is in jail. Have you tried to settle this?” she asked. The Tribune editorialized that the longer Chicago refuses to settle multiple cases relating to the coerced confessions, the more the reputation of the city would suffer.