Jon Graham Burge (born December 20, 1947) is a convicted felon and former Chicago Police Department detective and commander who gained notoriety for allegedly torturing more than 200 criminal suspects between 1972 and 1991, in order to force confessions. A decorated United States Army veteran, Burge served tours in South Korea and Vietnam and continued as an enlisted United States Army Reserve soldier where he served in the military police. He then returned to the South Side of Chicago and began his career as a police officer. Allegations were made about the methods of Burge and those under his command. Eventually, hundreds of similar reports resulted in a decision by Illinois Governor George Ryan to declare a moratorium on death penalty executions in Illinois in 2000 and to clear the state's death row in 2003.
The most controversial arrests began in February 1982, in the midst of a series of shootings of Chicago law enforcement officials in Police Area 2, whose detective squad Burge commanded. Some of the people who confessed to murder were later granted new trials and a few were acquitted or pardoned. Burge was acquitted of police brutality charges in 1989 after a first trial resulted in a hung jury. He was suspended from the Chicago Police Department in 1991 and fired in 1993 after the Police Department Review Board ruled that he had used torture.
After Burge was fired, there was a groundswell of support to investigate his convictions. In 2002, a special prosecutor began investigating the accusations. The review, which cost $17 million, revealed improprieties that resulted in no action due to the statute of limitations. Several convictions were reversed, remanded, or overturned. All Illinois death-row inmates received reductions in their sentences. Four of Burge's victims were pardoned by then-Governor Ryan and subsequently filed a consolidated suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the City of Chicago, various police officers, Cook County and various State's Attorneys. A $19.8 million settlement was reached in December 2007, with the "city defendants." Cases against Cook County and the other current/former county prosecutors continue as of July 2008. In October 2008, Patrick Fitzgerald had Burge arrested on charges of obstruction of justice and perjury in relation to a civil suit regarding the torture allegations against him. On April 1, 2010, Judge Joan Lefkow postponed the trial, for the fourth time, to May 24, 2010. Burge was convicted on all counts on June 28, 2010 and sentenced to four and one half years in federal prison on January 21, 2011.