Jon Burge, 62, faces a federal perjury charge. Prosecutors say he made false statements in a federal lawsuit brought by a man who had been convicted of arson and murder.
Potential jurors were to be given questionnaires to fill out, the Chicago Tribune reported. Lawyers are scheduled to select those who will decide the case May 24.
A Cook County investigation in 2006 found that Burge and other police officers obtained confessions by mistreating suspects, sometimes to the point of torture.But the statute of limitations had expired.
Burge was fired in 1993 and had retired to Florida when he was arrested in 2008.
Ronald Kitchen, 51, who spent 21 years in prison but is not party to the lawsuit, has mixed feelings about the trial.
"Who wouldn't want to see him put in the same cage he put us in?" Kitchen said. "But unless he gets up on the stand and admits what he did, there's no justice in it for me."