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Police torture claims overwhelm Illinois investigation panel

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CHICAGO (AP) _ The Illinois panel tasked with reviewing claims of police torture is overwhelmed with claims and is short on funding, especially with state budget impasse.

The Chicago Tribune reports that a recent law change expanded the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission’s jurisdiction beyond claims of torture related to disgraced former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge to anyone convicted in Cook County based on confessions allegedly coerced through torture.

The commission received over 200 claim requests almost immediately after the law went into effect last summer.

Commission spokesman Michael Theodore says over 180 new claims have been filed so far. Commission staff also must investigate over 120 cases filed under the old law.

The commission has sought help from law firms, law school interns and high school students who do clerical work.