In The News

In The News 2018-04-10T10:54:20+00:00

Marijuana Possession in Illinois: No Worse than a Speeding Ticket?

A bill that recently passed the House makes possession of 15 grams of marijuana worth a $125 fine -- and after 6 months, people punished under the new law can have the conviction expunged from their records. It passed with a 62-53 vote and the Illinois Department of Corrections estimates that it will save the state about $30 million. Read the full story here.

Pat Quinn and His Massive Pardon Record

Governor Pat Quinn made history last Friday, granting 232 requests for clemency in just one day. For the past several years, Quinn has been slogging through thousands of petitions--4,766, to be exact--in an effort to work through the mountain of requests left behind by former Governor Rod Blagojevich. Read more...

Gov. Pat Quinn Grants 43 Clemency Petitions

Last Friday, Governor Pat Quinn agreed to pardon 43 people who have been convicted of a variety of crimes — including to Chicago Ald. Carrie Austin, 34th’s Chief of Staff.

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Illinois Senate Passes Revenge Porn Bill

Bitter exes beware: a malicious way of getting back at your former significant other on the Internet could soon be a crime.

The Illinois Senate unanimously approved a bill Thursday to criminalize “revenge porn”: sexually explicit photos or videos of another person posted to the Internet without consent.

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‘No-brainer’: Law would allow schools to kick out kids with pending felony charges

Belleville East High School parent Ed McCann of Swansea was alarmed to learn a student with pending felony charges was permitted to attend the same school as his son and daughter.

McCann and others became aware of student David E. Fields’ criminal history after Fields, 17, was charged in connection with the criminal sexual assault of a female student in December on campus. In September, Fields was charged with two counts of aggravated battery and illegal possession of ammunition after St. Clair County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of shots fired at his Shiloh home

Read more… here

New Law That You Need to Know in 2014

SPRINGFIELD — Illinoisans soon will be able to stomp the gas pedal a little harder on rural interstates, but they’ll have to put down their mobile phones when they do it.

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Quinn grants 65 clemency requests

Gov. Pat Quinn issued pardons for crimes committed by a former Sauk Village trustee and a former Northwestern University football player as part of 65 clemency petitions he granted Friday.

The Democratic governor’s move clears the way for the individuals seeking to expunge their court records. The governor also denied 124 requests for clemency, according to his office.

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Judge reverses herself, charges dropped in gun case after ruling

A Cook County judge reversed herself Monday and dismissed weapons charges against a Chicago man after a recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling that called part of the state’s gun law unconstitutional.

Cook County Circuit Judge Ellen Mandeltort last week denied Deafalla Haddad’s request to drop the charges.

But the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that part of the state’s gun law was unconstitutional and advised prosecutors to drop charges in certain cases. That ruling fell in step with a federal court decision earlier this year declaring that the state’s gun laws violated the U.S. Constitution.

At Monday’s hearing, defense attorney Matt Fakhoury asked Mandeltort to reconsider the request in light of the Supreme Court decision. She agreed and found the case against Haddad violated his Second Amendment rights.

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State Bans Hand-Held Cell Phones For Drivers

Terry Amanti said he supports banning drivers from using hand-held cellphones. A driver on a cellphone rear-ended his car in May and caused $4,000 damage, he said.

“She got out of the car, and she was still on the cellphone,” Amanti said.

Yet, he’s unconvinced using an earpiece is much better.

“If you’re talking on a phone, you’ve got tunnel vision whether it’s in your hand or it’s Bluetooth,” said Amanti, of Schaumburg, while he stood in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Elk Grove Village.

Amanti’s support for the ban, which Gov. Pat Quinn signed Friday, is widely shared. So, perhaps, is the ambiguity.

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Quinn Signs Bill to Help Ex-Offenders Get Jobs

CHICAGO • Gov. Pat Quinn signed a series of bills Saturday he said will help ex-offenders get jobs so they can stay out of prison.

Quinn, a Democrat, said the measures also will give judges and prosecutors more options for sentencing nonviolent criminals. He noted more than half of Illinois inmates return to prison within three years of release, many because they go back to crime to provide for themselves or their families.

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State Awards Contract for Concealed Carry

The state is awarding at least two contracts on an emergency basis worth more than $350,000 in order to implement Illinois’ new concealed-carry law.

Both contracts involve upgrading computer equipment to identify people who should not be allowed to carry concealed weapons. Emergency purchases allow the state to speed up purchasing by not going through sealed bidding.

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How Gun Laws Work

Illinois lawmakers overrode Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of concealed carry legislation on Tuesday, but it will likely be 2014 before any firearm owners are permitted to pack handguns in public.

The last state to adopt a concealed carry law, Illinois now has to set about building a bureaucracy to process applications — which could number in the hundreds of thousands in the first year — screening out people with prohibitive criminal records or conditions of mental illness that police believe could make them dangerous if armed.

While gun owners may have questions about how soon they’ll be able to carry guns in public, other state residents may also have questions about where they can expect to find people armed with deadly weapons. And where guns will still be banned.

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Senate, House approve concealed carry bill

Illinois is set to join the 49 other states in allowing law-abiding gun owners to carry weapons in public for self-defense after the House on Friday passed legislation by an 89-28 margin.

The Senate voted in favor 45-12, and the bill now awaits Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature. A spokeswoman said the governor will review the bill, which will take effect upon his signing, when it reaches his desk.

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More Convicts Could Get a Clean Slate Under Proposed Law

Lawmakers have approved a proposal that would significantly expand the list of felony convictions that people seeking to escape their criminal pasts could ask to have sealed.
The measure, which aims to give ex-offenders a better shot at jobs, housing and education, awaits a decision by Gov. Pat Quinn on whether to sign it into law.

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Clock Ticks for State on Concealed Carry

The courts, the Capitol and the clock are complicating a debate over how to end the prohibition on carrying concealed firearms in Illinois.

There are fewer than 30 days to go before a judicial deadline for developing a framework on allowing public weapons possession in the only state that has a ban. Attempts at legislative remedies failed in the House late last month, including one endorsed by the National Rifle Association that could resurface. Senators may try a version of their own as early as this week.

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Gun debate moves on into Senate


SPRINGFIELD — The failure of the Illinois House last week to agree on new gun laws has put the state Senate in the crosshairs when it comes to hammering out a plan to give Illinoisans the right to carry concealed weapons in public.

With an early June deadline looming to comply with a federal court order to bring Illinois in line with 49 other states, the Senate could vote this week on a concealed carry plan designed to bridge the gap between gun control advocates in Chicago and gun rights supporters in downstate Illinois.

Read the complete story here...

Prosecutors, judges ignore federal ruling against state concealed carry ban

Despite a federal ruling that Illinois’ concealed carry ban is unconstitutional, police, prosecutors and judges alike say they are disregarding the finding and continuing to enforce the law — at least for now.

Police say they continue to arrest those who violate the state’s ban on carrying a gun in public, and prosecutors continue to charge them. Backing up the authorities — but perhaps creating more confusion — a state court ruled last week that the federal decision is not binding on Illinois courts and upheld the nation’s last concealed carry ban as constitutional.

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Man arrested with gun in holster challenging concealed carry ban

A Chicago man found with a loaded gun in his car says felony weapons charges against him should be dropped because of a court ruling that tossed out Illinois’ concealed carry ban.

Deafalla Haddad was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon after he was pulled over for speeding in November in Schiller Park and informed the officer he was carrying a loaded gun in a waistband holster.

His attorney, Matt Fakhoury, said the case should be dismissed because the law Haddad broke was found to be unconstitutional and because his actions would be legal in any other state.

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Madigan to Hold Concealed-Carry Gun Debate Today

SPRINGFIELD — Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan plans to hold an extraordinary debate Tuesday to begin to gauge where House members think people should be allowed to carry concealed guns and where they should be forbidden in Illinois.

Man Charged With Throwing Courtroom Chair at Cop

Lavelle Watts Jr. waited nearly three years to get revenge against a Joliet cop he claimed had assaulted him in a racist attack.

But when a jury rejected his allegations Thursday afternoon, Watts tried to take justice into his own hands — by throwing a courtroom chair at the cop, prosecutors say.

Illinois Concealed Carry Bill is Filed

A Southern Illinois lawmaker on Tuesday filed a bill to legalize concealed carry in the state.

The Family and Personal Protection Act sponsored by state Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, would allow licensed residents to carry with certain restrictions loaded or unloaded handguns on their person or in vehicles. Five-year licenses would cost $25 and be issued by the Illinois State Police.

Gun Backers Move to Block AG Madigan

SPRINGFIELD — Gun rights activists asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to reject a request by Illinois’ top attorney for another hearing on a lawsuit that aims to allow Illinoisans to carry loaded weapons in public.

In an 18-page brief filed with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, attorneys for concealed carry supporters wrote that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has not provided enough evidence to warrant a hearing on the case by the entire panel of judges that comprise the court.  Click here for the full article.

IL Prisons Reintroducing Early-Release Program

Illinois prisons are preparing to introduce a more restrictive early-release program to replace one that was halted three years ago amid public outcry over inmates serving just fractions of their sentence.

Click here for full article.

The Debate:  Gun Laws and the 2nd Amendment

In a recent decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Illinois’ ban on guns was declared unconstitutional and a violation of the 2nd Amendment.  The case, Moore v. Madigan, was decided just days before the Newtown tragedy.

Gun control laws and the right to bear arms issue is a polarizing one.  In the wake of Newtown, some argue that teachers and school personal should be allowed to carry concealed weapons while in school.  Others argue the risk and danger to the students is too great and the availability of firearms is the what caused this tragedy to begin with.

What are your thoughts?

Court Invalidates Illinois Gun Law

In a major decision the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated Illinois’ ban on carrying loaded weapons in public.

The Moore v. Madigan decision was published on December 11, 2012 and the Court gave the legislator 180 days to revise the law – Unlawful Use of a Weapon.  Read more. 

Lake County Prosecutor Drops Old Case

Three days into his first term as Lake County state’s attorney, Mike Nerheim announced he will drop a case from 1986 that his predecessor steadfastly pursued despite DNA evidence indicating the suspect’s innocence.

Lawyer Acquitted in Cellphone Case

After a controversial trial that sparked interest in the legal community, a Chicago attorney was acquitted Thursday night of charges she improperly let a suspect in the slaying of a Chicago police officer use her cellphone in an interrogation room.

Jersey Shore May Be Ending, But Courtroom Drama is Just Beginning

With the Jersey Shore closing in on its final season, one has to wonder what could possibly captivate the attention span of society’s teen and young adult population on Thursday nights (and reruns on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Sunday night, etc…)!

Welcome to court T.V. Illinois residents!!! A new rule now allows cameras in Illinois criminal courtrooms to capture drama parallel to that of a Ron and Sammy break up fight at the shore house.

See how the first T.V. trial went. Cameras in Illinois Court Pass Test. 

Public Defender Not Guilty of Assaulting Prosecutor

A jury today found a Cook County public defender not guilty of assualting an assistant state’s attorney two years ago in a Chicago courthouse after a hearing in a case in which they were opposing attorneys.

In a First, Illinois Murder Trial Goes Live

A court official says live TV coverage of Northeastern Illinois murder trial is going smoothly.

Elgin Teen Held on Grun Charges

An Elgin teen already on parole has been charged with possession of a stolen firearm following a recent Huntley burglary.

Woman Dies in Domestic-Related Shooting on Northwest Side

A 20 Year old woman was fatally shot in the head in the Craigin neighborhood this morning in what police believe was a domestic-related incident, authorities said.

Antioch-Area Man Charged in Domestic Slaying

An Antioch man has been charged with murder in the death of his teenage daughter’s mother after the daughter called police when the couple had a fight Thursday night, authorities said.

New Jersey Considers “Snookiville Law”

(CNN) – New Jersey towns could soon get help paying the extra costs of having drunken reality show starts wondering their streets.  The proposed “Snookiville Law” would…

Man Charged With Beating, Stabbing Prosecutor in Lakeview

A man has been charged with beating and stabbing a Cook County prosecutor who tried to intervene when he saw two men harassing a couple they thought was gay, authorities said.

Edgar Diaz, 21, of the 5600 block of West Grand Avenue, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery, police said.  He was arrested last week and identified by witnesses, police said.

Two Men Held in Wheeling Home Invasion

A cable company employee posing as a service technician is one of two men charged in a home invasion in Wheeling, authorities said.

Police charged Nicholas Puccio, 23, a Comcast sales representative, and Kevin Summers, 32, with home invasion, a felony that carries a sentence of six to 30 years in prison. Cook County Judge Jill Cerone Marisie set bail at $100,000 for Puccio and at $200,000 for Summers during a hearing Friday.

Defense Attorney Matt Fakhoury Gets Charges Dropped in 2011 Carpentersville Drive-By Shooting

Kane County prosecutors dropped attempted murder and other weapons charges against a 24-year-old Carpentersville man accused of firing shots at five people in two separate cars last summer.

Abraham Barajas, of the 0-99 block of Wren Road, spent a few weeks in jail after his July 21, 2011, arrest before posting $7,500 bond.

If he had been convicted of the most severe charges, Barajas could have spent six to 30 years in prison without the possibility of probation.

“He couldn’t believe it. He said it was the best day of his life. He wants to put this behind him,” said defense attorney Matt Fakoury. “There were some holes in the case that I brought to (prosecutors’) attention.”

Fakoury said his office conducted its own investigation and found a third-party witness, who was not available to authorities last summer, who did not place Barajas at the scene or holding the gun. No gun was ever recovered.

Fakoury also said he doubted the credibility of witnesses and argued that Carpentersville police made mistakes in the chain of custody while handling evidence.

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Distinct Legal Styles on Display in Drew Peterson, Christopher Vaughn Trials


They’ve been tweeting and blogging their way through the first three weeks of testimony in the former Bolingbrook cop’s murder trial

New Laws On Distracted Drivers

Illinois drivers are coming under more pressure to slow down and stay off their cell phones.  Governor Pat Quinn has signed four laws aimed at making roadways safer.

Lisle Man Gets 4 Years For Slashing Uncle

A Lisle Man was sentenced Monday to four years in prison for slashing his uncles in the face during an altercation sparked when the defendant’s girlfriend broke up with him.

Charges Dropped Against Former Cook County Official

Cook County prosecutors dropped charges Thursday against a former administrator over the county’s scandal-plagued jobs training program more than four years after he was indicted on allegations of wrongdoing.

Day Care Owner Convicted of Shaking Baby to Death Gets Fall Hearing

A former home day care owner from Bartlett convicted of fatally shaking an infant has moved closer to a hearing that could result in a new trial after spending over a decade in prison.

Supreme Court Bars Mandatory Life In Prison For Juveniles Convicted in Murder Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the Eighth Amendment bars mandatory sentences of life in prison without parole for juveniles convicted of murder.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote the majority opinion. “Mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on ‘cruel and unusual punishments,’ ” Kagan wrote.

Rahm’s Pot Plan:  Those Under 17 or Without I.D. Will Still Get Arrested

Young people under 17 caught in Chicago with small amounts of marijuana and anyone without “proper identification” would be ineligible for pot tickets and would be arrested — just as they are now — under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed decriminalization plan.

Police Misconduct Cases Drag On For Years

A Chicago police officer cracked Greg Larkins’ head open with a baton back in 2006, requiring him to be stitched up at a hospital.  Within a few days, several relatives of Larkins who said they witnessed the allegedly unprovoked attack gave statements to an investigator for the city. His mother also handed over photos of his injuries.

Defendant in Record South Elgin Pot Bust Deported Before Trial

South Elgin police were patting themselves on the back last August after the largest marijuana bust in the village’s history netted 600 pounds of pot worth nearly $500,000 on the street.

Illinois House Approves Early Prison Release Plan

Illinois lawmakers are telling Gov. Pat Quinn to reduce prison crowding with a new early release program. The House voted 68-50 Thursday to reinstate sentence credits for prisoners who stay out of trouble behind bars or participate in self-improvement programs.

Fitzgerald to Step Down After Record Nearly 11 Years as U.S. Attorney

Patrick Fitzgerald will be most remembered for taking down two Illinois governors, but the prosecution of a ruthless ex-Chicago police commander may say more about the outgoing U.S. attorney’s style, boldness and willingness to risk a courtroom loss in pursuit of what he felt was right.

Madison County Prosecutors Drop Drug Case In Light of Judge’s Ruling

Madison County prosecutors on Thursday dropped a drug-induced homicide case in response to a judge’s decision that ended a trial and freed a defendant in a separate overdose case.

Drunken Driving Accident That Killed 5 Oswego Teens Back in Court

The tragic case of a drunken driving accident that killed five Oswego teens in 2007 will be back in a courtroom this week, possibly as a judicial test of language that allows judges to impose probation in certain felony DUI cases.

Was Alibi Ignored in ’92 Double Murder?

In 2002, Cook County prosecutors undertook what then was a most unusual inquiry: the reinvestigation of a double-murder case that sent five young men to prison, even though one of them had records showing he was in a Chicago police lockup when the crime occurred.

Drew Peterson Hearing Set For Friday in Will County

Former Bolingbrook cop Drew Peterson will be in a Will County courtroom Friday, where he may learn which judge will preside over his upcoming murder trial. Peterson is returning to court after deciding not to fight a crucial Illinois appellate court ruling involving what hearsay evidence can be used against him when he is tried for the 2004 drowning death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Human Dignity Week breaks down hate crimes

In honor of Human Dignity Week, a workshop was held on Thursday, Oct. 21 to discuss hate crimes. The hate crime workshop was held by Public Safety Director Bob Wachowski, State’s Attorney Matt Fakhoury, and Chicago Police Department Hate Crimes Investigator Mike Ghuneim. Fakhoury also teaches law and society classes at DePaul University. The three collaborated to discuss different types of hate crimes, reasons behind these crimes, and most importantly, consequences for those who commit hate crimes.

Elgin crime: Roselle woman charged with stabbing 2 at party

November 18, 2009 Police say a Roselle woman stabbed two people at a party in Elgin. Mercedes Valldeperas, 19, of the 0-100 block of Hattendorf Road, is charged with two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Matt Fakhoury said Valldeperas was at a party in the 700 block of Peck Street on Friday when she began kicking and hitting a 27-year-old woman. Valldeperas stabbed the woman and also stabbed a 21-year-old man, Fakhoury said. Valldeperas fled but was caught by police, Fakhoury said.

Man charged in DVD thefts

November 06, 2008 Bail was set today at $40,000 for a Kenosha man accused of stealing DVDs worth $1,000 from a Wal-Mart in Wheeling. Ryan Kane, 26, of the 9000 block of Sheridan Road was charged with two felony counts of retail theft, Assistant State’s Atty. Matt Fakhoury said at a hearing in the Rolling Meadows branch of Cook County Circuit Court. Fakhoury said Kane is accused of taking dozens movies and other entertainment on DVDs on two days in October from the Wal-Mart at 1455 Lake Cook Rd.

As our economy is going bust, bank robberies are booming.

In just the first 44 days of 2008, there were 35 bank robberies in the Chicago area. “Extrapolate that to a year,” says Ross Rice of the FBI’s Chicago bureau, “and it could be another record high.” The current Chicagoland record—284 banks robbed—was set in 2006. …

2nd person charged in abuse of girl

February 03, 2009 Bail was set Tuesday at $200,000 for a northwest suburban woman accused of molesting a 6-year-old girl who was the victim of abuse last year by the woman’s husband, prosecutors said.Elizabeth Garcia, 25, of the 1500 block of Norway Lane in unincorporated Cook County near Palatine, was charged with predatory criminal sexual assault, Assistant State’s Atty. Matt Fakhoury said at a hearing in the Rolling Meadows branch of Cook County Circuit Court. Fakhoury said Garcia was arrested after the girl told a relative that she was molested last month. The woman’s husband, Baldomero Garcia, 27, was charged last year with predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual assault, prosecutors said. Baldomero Garcia was arrested last March, prosecutors said.

Store security agent stabbed by champagne thief

Rolling Meadows IL Mar 19 2009 By: Rick McCann Private Officer News Network

Part of hockey or a crime? Trial focuses on where to draw line in sports.

Article from: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) | September 19, 2007 | Copyright Byline: Erin Holmes In the midst of an intensely heated third period, authorities say, David Micek turned a Hoffman Estates floor hockey game into a jury question. Raising his stick above his head, Micek delivered an after-the- whistle blow to an opponent in a Sunday morning men’s league game at the Grand Sports Arena, prosecutors say, fracturing the man’s wrist, shattering the bones and causing permanent damage. Micek, 39, of Schaumburg, was hit with two felony counts of aggravated battery. But was it a brutal assault, or just part of the game? Lawyers argued both sides Tuesday, opening a case that …

Palatine man held on $5 million bond in wife’s death

Albert Rumlow did not appear in a Rolling Meadows courtroom Friday for his bond hearing on a charge of murdering his wife. But that didn’t stop the wheels of justice from continuing to turn, or Cook County Judge Kay Hanlon from setting a $5 million bond for Rumlow who police say murdered his wife and then tried to kill himself. Palatine police charged Rumlow, 73, with first degree murder in the death of his 69-year-old wife, Janet, an active member of Palatine’s Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. He remains in Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, recovering from self-inflicted stab wounds. Police say he tried to commit suicide after he stabbed his wife to death Wednesday in their Palatine home on the 1000 block of Grissom Drive.

Two teens face attempted murder charges in Streamwood stabbing

Two teens face attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery and aggravated battery charges for a stabbing Saturday morning in Streamwood. Authorities charged 18-year-old Carmichael Nation of Evanston and a 16-year-old Schaumburg High School student with the crimes, the most serious of which carries a sentence of six to 30 years. The 16-year-old, who plays on his school’s basketball team and has no criminal background, was arrested Tuesday. The third defendant remains at large.