Screen capture from a TV campaign ad from State Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, attacking his GOP opponent, Dave Severin, over criminal justice reform.
Friends of John Bradley
September 02, 2016

After Politician's 'Soft On Crime' Attack, Advocates Fight Back

In an era of political gridlock, one of the few topics on which there's been hope of bipartisan cooperation is on the issues of crime and punishment. Politicians have traditionally been averse to doing anything that could get them painted as being "soft on crime." It's an easy attack, and one that's been frequently deployed in the past. But this year, criminal justice reform advocates are fighting back, as in the case of an Illinois Democrat facing scare-mongering ads about criminal justice reform. 

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton smiles after speaking at the Old State House in Springfield Wednesday,
Andrew Harnik/Associated Press
July 13, 2016

Clinton Calls For 'Better Listening,' Empathy In Springfield Visit

Hillary Clinton is embracing the symbolism of Abraham Lincoln's "House Divided" speech, arguing the nation needs to repair its divisions after a series of high-profile shootings. In a speech in Springfield,
Clinton said the Republican Party of Lincoln had been transformed into the "party of Trump," warning her opponent would divide Americans.

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Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a campaign rally at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Friday, March 4, 2016, in Edwardsville, Ill.
Seth Perlman/Associated Press
March 05, 2016

Sanders Brings Brand Of Economic Populism To Southern Illinois

The Democratic presidential candidate spoke Friday at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where the primarily student audience packed a 4,000-seat campus basketball arena.  Sanders touched on familiar campaign themes, calling for campaign finance reform, marijuana decriminalization and increased corporate taxes.

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Abu Anas al-Libi
(AP Photo/FBI)
October 07, 2013

U.S. Raids In Libya And Somalia Target Al-Qaida Network

More details are emerging after a pair of U.S. commando raids over the weekend that targeted alleged terrorists in Libya and Somalia.

In Libya, Abu Anas al-Libi, a top al-Qaida operative accused by Washington of involvement in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, was snatched from a street in the capital, Tripoli, in an operation on Saturday.

Eyewitnesses say al-Libi was "taken peacefully in Tripoli," NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman tells Morning Edition.

"There was no real sign of struggle," Bowman says, adding that al-Libi's brother said "he was thrown into a car that sped away."

FBI and CIA officials are said to have been involved in the snatch of al-Libi.

"There are some indications that al-Libi moved about fairly openly," Bowman says.

The Libyan government says it was not made aware of the operation, which it has called a "kidnapping," sharply criticizing the raid as a violation of Libyan sovereignty.

Secretary of State John Kerry defended the U.S. action, saying al-Libi was a "legal and appropriate target" for the U.S. military and that he will face justice in a court of law.

The New York Times, quoting unnamed officials, says al-Libi "is being interrogated while in military custody on [the USS San Antonio] ... in the Mediterranean Sea."

In the second raid, a U.S. Navy SEAL team swam ashore at a seaside villa south of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, and engaged in a fierce firefight with al-Shabab militants. The target of the U.S. raid is said to have been the senior al-Shabab leader, Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, alias Ikrima.

Attack helicopters took part in the raid, according to eyewitnesses, Bowman says. The SEALs later withdrew from the fighting, and it's not yet clear whether Ikrima was killed.

"There were some al-Shabab casualties," Bowman says. Al-Shabab says it killed some Americans, but U.S. officials say there were no casualties among the SEAL team.

NPR's Gregory Warner says Ikrima "boasts connections to both al-Shabab in Somalia and to a Kenyan jihadist group called al-Hijra. Kenyan authorities announced Friday that two of the four terrorists killed in the Westgate Mall attack were al-Hijra militants."

Ikrima is a Kenyan of Somali origin who ran groups of fighters in Somalia that have attacked churches in Kenya and used roadside bombs against civilians, Bowman says.


October 02, 2013

Early-Out Parolee Accused Of Murder Not Monitored

Lawmakers say an early prison release law doesn't need changing despite a mistake in which a parolee now charged with murder was not properly monitored. 


 
Joshua A. Jones was set free in May five months early. He was charged with a Decatur murder three months later. 
 
Documents and Associated Press interviews show Jones was supposed to be electronically monitored but was not. State prison officials say an employee faces discipline.
 
 Republican Rep. Jim Sacia of Pecatonica called the mistake "unimaginable.'' He said it shows the need for holding employees accountable.
 
Chicago Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul said a worker's error does not mean the system is flawed.
 
The lawmakers were sponsors of a 2012 early-release law that replaced one shut down in 2009 following a scandal.


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