Illinois Public Media News

AP - Illinois Public Media News - June 29, 2012

Ex-Chicago Alderman, Ex-County Official Charged

Former Cook County commissioner Joseph Moreno and former Chicago Alderman Ambrosio Medrano are being charged for taking bribes.

Prosecutors say Moreno took a $5,000 bribe to insure development of a waste transfer station in Cicero while he sat on the town's economic development panel. They say he also used his position as a Cook County commissioner to get kickbacks for pushing Stroger Hospital to buy bandages from a particular company.

Ambrosio Medrano worked for Commissioner Moreno. He's also charged, but he was also a Chicago alderman who pleaded guilty in 1996 in another bribery scheme. Medrano is being held in jail because prosecutors say he's a flight risk. Judge Young Kim will hear more on that at a hearing on Tuesday.

The charges were unsealed Thursday afternoon in Chicago federal court. Medrano and Moreno were among seven defendants charged in the case.

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AP - Illinois Public Media News - June 27, 2012

Governor Quinn Signs Law Requiring Coaches to Report Abuse

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a law that requires coaches and university employees to report cases of abuse.

Quinn's office says the law that goes into effect Wednesday is designed to help further protect children and young people from sex abuse and child abuse.

Illinois lawmakers introduced the measure in response to the sex abuse scandal involving former assistant Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The law requires athletic personnel, university employees and early intervention providers to report suspected abuse.

Rep. Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon is one of the bill's sponsors, and he says the situation at Penn State made it clear that Illinois needed to tighten up its reporting laws to make sure nothing like that happens here.

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AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 26, 2012

Ex-Indiana Sec’y of State White Loses Law License

Convicted former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White is losing his law license.

The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order Wednesday suspending White's law license on an interim basis effective May 10th because of his convictions earlier this year on six felonies including vote fraud, perjury and theft. The charges stem from using his ex-wife's address as his voting address when he was serving on the Fishers Town Council and running for secretary of state in 2010.

White was sentenced Feb. 23 to one year of home detention. He has said he plans to appeal his convictions, which also cost him his elected office.

An email message seeking comment was sent to White.


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - April 26, 2012

Second Cherry Orchard Manager Arrested

(Reported by Pam Dempsey of CU-CitizenAccess)

The second property manager of the Cherry Orchard Village Apartments has been arrested. An extradition hearing is scheduled next week for Bernard Ramos, who was arrested in Washington D.C. by the Metropolitan Police Department on April 10.

A civil contempt warrant had been issued for Bernard, as well as his father, Eduardo Ramos, by a Champaign County judge. The two failed to appear to a schedule court hearing last year in connection with problems at Cherry Orchard. The property, which is located near Rantoul, was closed by health officials for a broken septic system.

Bernard refused extradition and was released on a $5,000 cash bond and is due back in a D.C. court Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Eduardo Ramos was in Champaign County Court on Thursday. At a hearing last month following his arrest in February, a Champaign County judge gave him permission to return to D.C. for medical care. Thursday's hearing was continued until June and Eduardo Ramos was again given permission to return to D.C.

Cherry Orchard typically houses migrant workers in the summer. It remains closed.

Champaign County State's Attorney Joel Fletcher said that the county continues to seek better security of the property. He said there is evidence of ongoing activity there.

In March, county health officials investigated reports of people living on the property and removing boards from windows off of one of the buildings. Health officials replaced the boards and posted a more permanent sign warning people away.

"Our main goal is that nobody lives in the property until the septic is fixed," said Julie Pryde, the administrator for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

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Categories: Criminal Justice
Tags: crime


AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 26, 2012

ISU Police Cracking Down on Jaywalkers

Illinois State students are on notice: campus police are about to get tough - on jaywalking.

The Pantagraph newspaper in Bloomington reports (http://bit.ly/IeVgz1) that more than 30 percent of the people who took a recent campus survey said jaywalking is a serious problem. And police are taking it seriously.

ISU Police Chief Aaron Woodruff says fliers warning students are being handed out this week. Next week jaywalkers will get tickets and have to pay fines.

In the same survey more than a quarter of the respondents said drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks are a big problem, as well. The chief says those drivers will be getting tickets, too.

Of the 1,500 traffic accidents in Normal in 2011, 17 involved pedestrians.

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Categories: Criminal Justice
Tags: crime

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 17, 2012

Indy Police Chief Resigns Over Mishandling of Blood Vial

Indianapolis Police Chief Paul Ciesielski has resigned from his post over his department's handling of a blood sample taken from a police officer who was involved in a fatal 2010 crash.

Officials say Ciesielski submitted his resignation Tuesday, a day after the chief informed Public Safety Director Frank Straub that a vial of blood taken from Officer David Bisard following the August 2010 crash had been moved and not stored properly.

Mayor Greg Ballard says the mishandling of evidence erodes public confidence in the police department. He says he has asked the FBI to join the professional standards division in the investigation.

Officials say Ciesielski will remain with the department.

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AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 17, 2012

Indy Police Chief Resigns Over Mishandling of Blood Vial

Indianapolis Police Chief Paul Ciesielski has resigned from his post over his department's handling of a blood sample taken from a police officer who was involved in a fatal 2010 crash.

Officials say Ciesielski submitted his resignation Tuesday, a day after the chief informed Public Safety Director Frank Straub that a vial of blood taken from Officer David Bisard following the August 2010 crash had been moved and not stored properly.

Mayor Greg Ballard says the mishandling of evidence erodes public confidence in the police department. He says he has asked the FBI to join the professional standards division in the investigation.

Officials say Ciesielski will remain with the department.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 12, 2012

Illinois Seeks to Reduce Prison Overcrowding

Illinois lawmakers are once again debating a bill that could help ease the state's bursting prison population at a time when there are plans to close several correctional facilities.

But it may take some work to convince Gov. Pat Quinn to go along with the plan in reintroducing a program that he suspended two years ago due to problems surrounding it.

In 2010 Quinn put on hold the state's Meritorious Good Time program (MGT) which reduced the sentences for inmates considered non-violent. Quinn pulled it after he learned that more than 1,000 inmates did not serve the required minimum of 60 days and committed more crimes once back on the streets.

But some saw it as an election year political move.

Since that time, more than 4,000 inmates have been added to the ranks, pushing Illinois' total prison population to 49,000. The state's prison system is designed to handle a mere 33,700.

Some lawmakers and prison advocates are pushing Quinn to reinstate the MGT program to ease overcrowding and making unhealthy living conditions even worse.

"The decision to suspend Meritorious Good Time was the result of an election cycle political firestorm. Good time credits became widely and inaccurately described ... became the ammunition for political attacks between Illinois candidates and branches of government in 2009 and 2010," Malcolm Young, director of prison re-entry strategies at Northwestern University law school's Bluhm Legal Clinic, told an Illinois House Criminal Law Committee meeting in downtown Chicago on Wednesday.

Young supports passage of House Bill 3899 that would reinstate MGT. Chicago Democratic State Rep. Arthur Turner introduced the bill.

"It provides a reasoned, manageable, beneficial framework or approach to the challenge of implementing the good conduct program. It's an approach that would alleviate today's prison crowding crisis and accomplish other public policy goals," Young said.

Quinn's deputy chief of staff, Toni Irving, told the House committee that the old MGT law is no longer valid.

"The statute is outdated and at the time the statute was created, certain offenses that we now consider violent, i.e. DUI, can't be excluded," Irving said. "So, MGT as it currently exists isn't really a sound policy. It would require something brand new."

Irving added that Quinn is reviewing a similar bill introduced in the state Senate (SB2621) but is so far uncommitted to supporting it.

"We are certainly interested in working with the Legislature in making sure that we have a collaborative effort. I think it's super important that the legislature be very involved in this process since it's the legislature also determines the budget for the Department of Corrections and often times these things are linked to programs that are then defunded in the process," Irving said. "There has to be a connection between those two."

The push for early release of certain prisoners will grow if Quinn's plans to shut as many as 14 state juvenile prisons, several adult transition centers and a super max prison to save money as the state addresses budget issues.

(AP Photo/Seth Perlman,File)


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