City of Chicago awarded additional $6.5 million settlement to Madison Hobley for wrongful conviction

Deal with city had Saturday deadline.

By: Frank Main, Chicago Sun-Times: January 6th, 2009

Former Death Row inmate Madison Hobley will move to collect a $6.5 million legal settlement with the city now that the U.S. attorney’s office hasn’t indicted him in a 1987 arson fire that killed seven people – including his wife and 1-year-old son.

Hobley served 13 years in prison for the arson before then-Gov. Ryan pardoned him in 2003.

Hobley claims former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge and others tortured him into confessing. He got a $1 million settlement from the city last year from a wrongful-conviction lawsuit.

In Hobley’s unusual deal, the city announced a year ago that federal authorities had opened a new investigation into the arson and that Hobley could not collect an additional $6.5 million unless no indictment was brought against him by Saturday.

Randall Samborn, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, confirmed Hobley has not been indicted but would not comment on whether the fire investigation is continuing.

Hobley’s attorney, Jon Loevy, said his client now lives out of state.

“Mr. Hobley is innocent, and we were absolutely confident there would be no indictment,” Loevy said. “We are pleased prosecutors have apparently recognized that.”

Several Hobley family members have been subpoenaed in the probe, Loevy said.

At his murder trial, Cook County prosecutors contended Hobley set the apartment fire to get rid of his wife so he could continue an affair with another woman. In his defense, Hobley accused Burge and others of torturing a confession out of him.

Burge now awaits a federal criminal trial for allegedly lying in his response to the lawsuit filed by Hobley. Burge said he and other detectives didn’t torture anyone.

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