WBEZ | Criminal Justice http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en FBI agents say indicted state rep took them to get bribe cash http://www.wbez.org/news/fbi-agents-say-indicted-state-rep-took-them-get-bribe-cash-110027 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/derricksmith.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Federal prosecutors say indicted Illinois State Rep. Derrick Smith took FBI agents to his house and turned over cash he had allegedly taken as a bribe. But Smith&rsquo;s attorneys are trying to make sure that information does not come up at his pending trial.</p><p>Smith was arrested more than two years ago and charged with taking $7,000 in exchange for writing a letter of support for a daycare operator applying for a grant.</p><p>In a new court filing, federal prosecutors say Smith repeatedly told FBI agents after he was read his Miranda rights that he &ldquo;f***ed up&rdquo; -- and never should&rsquo;ve written the letter or taken the $7,000.</p><p>&ldquo;Smith stated that it was all about getting money to put money back out on the streets in the hands of his campaign workers,&rdquo; FBI agents Bryan Butler and Timothy Keese wrote in the report, made public Monday, that is a government exhibit in his court case.</p><p>The agents wrote that Smith even took FBI agents to his house and turned over the remaining $2,500 from the alleged $7,000 bribe. Smith, before he was arrested, had already given some money to the campaign worker who had secretly recorded him, as pay for the assistant&rsquo;s work, and to another individual not identified by FBI agents in their report.</p><p>Smith&rsquo;s defense attorneys say the comments he made to the FBI following his arrest should not be allowed at trial because Smith thought they were part of his plea negotiations.</p><p>Prosecutors say Smith made those comments before an attorney entered the room. And even then, they say, the federal prosecutor did not negotiate a plea deal with him.</p><p>Smith was appointed to the Illinois House in 2011. The agents write Smith was &ldquo;going crazy&rdquo; about a primary challenger he faced in the March 2012 election. They say Smith told them he did not want to lose the election, but needed money to pay campaign workers so they would stay loyal to his campaign.</p><p>Smith, who represents parts of Chicago&rsquo;s West and North sides, defeated Tom Swiss in the 2012 Democratic primary. Other Democrats had encouraged primary voters to support Smith despite his arrest, claiming that Swiss was a Republican running as a Democrat.</p><p>After Smith won the primary, Illinois House members voted to expel him from the chamber -- in an act that had not been done in 100 years. But Smith had already won the primary, remained on the ballot and won election back to the state House that November.</p><p>Smith, however, will not be returning to Springfield next year. He lost his bid for another term in office to attorney Pamela Reaves-Harris in the Democratic primary last month.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Ftonyjarnold&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNFPSylltvw6suohIk5BgHodNjZYxg">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/fbi-agents-say-indicted-state-rep-took-them-get-bribe-cash-110027 McCarthy dismissive of crime research http://www.wbez.org/news/mccarthy-dismissive-crime-research-110026 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3567_Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Anita Alvarez_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In the wake of a violent weekend Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is picking up an old talking point.</p><p>According to the Chicago police there were 26 shooting incidents this weekend, leaving 32 victims. Three people died from their wounds.</p><p>McCarthy says Illinois needs tougher gun laws, including mandatory minimum sentences for people caught carrying illegal guns.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had this conversation,&rdquo; McCarthy said at a press conference Monday. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been having this conversation since I got here.&rdquo;</p><p>Crime researchers say there&rsquo;s no evidence to suggest that mandatory minimums reduce gun violence,&nbsp; but they say there&rsquo;s evidence that additional police officers would bring down violence.</p><p>McCarthy&rsquo;s response: &ldquo;Research is research, right?&nbsp; And you can make an argument any which way you want to based on what data says.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s real simple.&nbsp; If you don&rsquo;t go to jail for gun possession you continue to carry guns.&nbsp; You continue to carry guns, people get shot.&rdquo;</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel was unable to push the mandatory minimums bill through the legislature last year. The sponsor, Rep. Mike Zalewski, a Democrat,&nbsp; has said he plans to make another push,&nbsp; though there&rsquo;s no movement on the bill right now.</p></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mccarthy-dismissive-crime-research-110026 Cook County's Alvarez says most in Cook Jail have violent pasts http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-countys-alvarez-says-most-cook-jail-have-violent-pasts-109998 <p><p>Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez says 82 percent of the people in the jail have two or more incidents of violence in their background. That paints a drastically different picture of the population than that being pushed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.</p><p>Preckwinkle doesn&rsquo;t run the jail, but as head of the county board she has to pay for it. For the past couple years she&rsquo;s been drawing attention to overcrowding, saying 70 percent of the people held are there for nonviolent offenses.</p><p>Alvarez says that doesn&rsquo;t take into account the criminal histories of the detainees.</p><p>&ldquo;Maybe they got picked up on a drug case this time but they have a long history of violence, they have a long history of failing to appear in court. All that has to be taken into account when a judge sets bond,&rdquo; Alvarez said Tuesday after a speech at the City Club of Chicago.</p><p>The Illinois Supreme Court recently stepped in to clean up major problems in Cook County&rsquo;s bond court system. The Court found that judges don&rsquo;t have good information when they&rsquo;re trying to decide whether someone should be deprived of their freedom and locked up while awaiting trial.</p></p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 14:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-countys-alvarez-says-most-cook-jail-have-violent-pasts-109998 Exoneree Diaries: James Kluppelberg sells his wedding ring, finds a new love http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-james-kluppelberg-sells-his-wedding-ring-finds-new-love <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/james_0_0 - Copy.png" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>&ldquo;My goal was to start my life over, and she was part of that goal because I want to spend the rest of my life with her. To do that, I had to achieve certain things: employment, a place to live. It was very trying at times. Sometimes very frustrating when it wasn&rsquo;t materializing as fast as I&rsquo;d hope.&rdquo;</em></p><p><strong>JAMES DECIDED TO SELL</strong> his white gold wedding ring for some extra cash. He got about $160 for it at the Southlake Mall in Hobart, Ind. Married and divorced twice, he was used to having some weight on his finger.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s my fidget tool,&rdquo; James says. &ldquo;Some people smoke. I just don&rsquo;t feel right without out it.&rdquo;</p><p>In prison, the band had provided comfort and the sense of connection, even when he felt he had long been forgotten.&nbsp;</p><p>After selling off the ring, James bought a new ring for $40. It signified nothing, other than it took the place of something that was missing.</p><p>Missing on James&rsquo; right hand was a pinky finger. He had a habit of telling people he lost it in a piece of machinery &ndash; which was true, in a way. As a boy, he and his friends like to ride on a parking gate by stepping on the cord that ran along the pavement. James was hanging on the top when the gate cut his finger. After a few corrective surgeries, they took his finger for good. The knob at his pinky knuckle is still tender, but not as bad as it used to be when the slightest brush felt like a hammer was hitting it.</p><p>The other item he carried with him, tucked away in his Velcro hunter&rsquo;s camouflage wallet, was a laminated card documenting his 1985 high school equivalency certificate from the Illinois Community College Board. He had attended Carter H. Harrison Technical High School, never finishing due to a run-in with an assistant principal. The high school was shuttered in 1983.<br /><br /><strong>&ldquo;IF YOU WANT TO PROVE</strong> your work ethic, you&rsquo;re going to have to show me,&rdquo; Rena&rsquo; told James.<br />His dedicated prison pen pal-turned-romantic interest was about to turn into his temporary boss. She managed an Econo Lodge in Silver City, New Mexico, and James needed some fresh work experience to add to his resume.</p><p>Rena&rsquo; cleared the visit with her boss, and James came down to work for about a week, fixing drywall, plumbing and doing electrical repairs, or anything that was needed.</p><p>&ldquo;He exhibited a skilled and patient demeanor when applying techniques to resolve issues spanning from basic room repairs to major plumbing and electrical issues,&rdquo; Rena&rsquo; would later write in a letter of recommendation. &ldquo;Always cordial and respectful of the hotels guests he never failed to address each person he met with a smile and kind remark.&rdquo;</p><p>Silver City, a copper mining town, was losing its industry, causing a dip in business for Rena&rsquo;.<br />James wanted her to move up north. Rena&rsquo; had her reservations.</p><p>&ldquo;I refuse to support or take care of another man,&rdquo; Rena&rsquo; said, noting previous boyfriends who had taken advantage of her. &ldquo;They were always codependent and saw me as more of a meal ticket than partner.&rdquo;</p><p>A job and a place to live, she told James. That&rsquo;s what it would take for her to pack up her life.<br />James made it his goal to save every dime from every odd job he could to put down money on a place and pay it three months in advance. He wanted to prove to Rena&rsquo; he could make it.</p><p>They talked every day, and James got a Bluetooth device so that he could be hands free as he drove around to apply for jobs or help out the church folks. He had outfitted his son&rsquo;s Dodge Caravan with a power-inverter, converting the van&rsquo;s power to household power, which allowed him to use a printer on the go.</p><p>&ldquo;Somebody would ask me for something and instead of having to come back or mail it, I&rsquo;d say &lsquo;Give me a minute,&rsquo; and I&rsquo;d go out to the van and print out what they wanted,&rdquo; James says.</p><p>He used it to print out extra copies of his resume, recommendation letters and articles about his case. Or to print out directions as he kept trying to find his way.&nbsp;<br /><br /><strong>JAMES MANAGED TO VISIT RENA&rsquo; AGAIN</strong>, and the two drove over to Tombstone, Ariz., for a weekend trip.</p><p>Living up to its name, Tombstone&rsquo;s Boothill Graveyard captured James&rsquo; interest. The historic site featured the graves of &ldquo;outlaws, victims, suicides, and hangings, legal and otherwise, along with the hardy citizens and refined element of Tombstone&#39;s first days,&rdquo; according to a tourism website.</p><p>One tombstone sat amidst the outlaws and hardy citizens, among rubble and rocks, with a cross in the background:</p><p>&ldquo;HERE LIES<br />GEORGE JOHNSON<br />HANGED BY MISTAKE<br />1882<br />HE WAS RIGHT<br />WE WAS WRONG<br />BUT WE STRUNG<br />HIM UP<br />AND NOW HE&rsquo;S<br />GONE.&rdquo;<br /><br />James stopped and pulled out his cell phone to snap a picture: &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve been getting it wrong for a long time. It&rsquo;s time people started paying attention to that.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 17:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-james-kluppelberg-sells-his-wedding-ring-finds-new-love Exoneree Diaries: James Kluppelberg sells his wedding ring, finds a new love http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-james-kluppelberg-sells-his-wedding-ring-finds-new-love <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/james_0_0 - Copy.png" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>&ldquo;My goal was to start my life over, and she was part of that goal because I want to spend the rest of my life with her. To do that, I had to achieve certain things: employment, a place to live. It was very trying at times. Sometimes very frustrating when it wasn&rsquo;t materializing as fast as I&rsquo;d hope.&rdquo;</em></p><p><strong>JAMES DECIDED TO SELL</strong> his white gold wedding ring for some extra cash. He got about $160 for it at the Southlake Mall in Hobart, Ind. Married and divorced twice, he was used to having some weight on his finger.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s my fidget tool,&rdquo; James says. &ldquo;Some people smoke. I just don&rsquo;t feel right without out it.&rdquo;</p><p>In prison, the band had provided comfort and the sense of connection, even when he felt he had long been forgotten.&nbsp;</p><p>After selling off the ring, James bought a new ring for $40. It signified nothing, other than it took the place of something that was missing.</p><p>Missing on James&rsquo; right hand was a pinky finger. He had a habit of telling people he lost it in a piece of machinery &ndash; which was true, in a way. As a boy, he and his friends like to ride on a parking gate by stepping on the cord that ran along the pavement. James was hanging on the top when the gate cut his finger. After a few corrective surgeries, they took his finger for good. The knob at his pinky knuckle is still tender, but not as bad as it used to be when the slightest brush felt like a hammer was hitting it.</p><p>The other item he carried with him, tucked away in his Velcro hunter&rsquo;s camouflage wallet, was a laminated card documenting his 1985 high school equivalency certificate from the Illinois Community College Board. He had attended Carter H. Harrison Technical High School, never finishing due to a run-in with an assistant principal. The high school was shuttered in 1983.<br /><br /><strong>&ldquo;IF YOU WANT TO PROVE</strong> your work ethic, you&rsquo;re going to have to show me,&rdquo; Rena&rsquo; told James.<br />His dedicated prison pen pal-turned-romantic interest was about to turn into his temporary boss. She managed an Econo Lodge in Silver City, New Mexico, and James needed some fresh work experience to add to his resume.</p><p>Rena&rsquo; cleared the visit with her boss, and James came down to work for about a week, fixing drywall, plumbing and doing electrical repairs, or anything that was needed.</p><p>&ldquo;He exhibited a skilled and patient demeanor when applying techniques to resolve issues spanning from basic room repairs to major plumbing and electrical issues,&rdquo; Rena&rsquo; would later write in a letter of recommendation. &ldquo;Always cordial and respectful of the hotels guests he never failed to address each person he met with a smile and kind remark.&rdquo;</p><p>Silver City, a copper mining town, was losing its industry, causing a dip in business for Rena&rsquo;.<br />James wanted her to move up north. Rena&rsquo; had her reservations.</p><p>&ldquo;I refuse to support or take care of another man,&rdquo; Rena&rsquo; said, noting previous boyfriends who had taken advantage of her. &ldquo;They were always codependent and saw me as more of a meal ticket than partner.&rdquo;</p><p>A job and a place to live, she told James. That&rsquo;s what it would take for her to pack up her life.<br />James made it his goal to save every dime from every odd job he could to put down money on a place and pay it three months in advance. He wanted to prove to Rena&rsquo; he could make it.</p><p>They talked every day, and James got a Bluetooth device so that he could be hands free as he drove around to apply for jobs or help out the church folks. He had outfitted his son&rsquo;s Dodge Caravan with a power-inverter, converting the van&rsquo;s power to household power, which allowed him to use a printer on the go.</p><p>&ldquo;Somebody would ask me for something and instead of having to come back or mail it, I&rsquo;d say &lsquo;Give me a minute,&rsquo; and I&rsquo;d go out to the van and print out what they wanted,&rdquo; James says.</p><p>He used it to print out extra copies of his resume, recommendation letters and articles about his case. Or to print out directions as he kept trying to find his way.&nbsp;<br /><br /><strong>JAMES MANAGED TO VISIT RENA&rsquo; AGAIN</strong>, and the two drove over to Tombstone, Ariz., for a weekend trip.</p><p>Living up to its name, Tombstone&rsquo;s Boothill Graveyard captured James&rsquo; interest. The historic site featured the graves of &ldquo;outlaws, victims, suicides, and hangings, legal and otherwise, along with the hardy citizens and refined element of Tombstone&#39;s first days,&rdquo; according to a tourism website.</p><p>One tombstone sat amidst the outlaws and hardy citizens, among rubble and rocks, with a cross in the background:</p><p>&ldquo;HERE LIES<br />GEORGE JOHNSON<br />HANGED BY MISTAKE<br />1882<br />HE WAS RIGHT<br />WE WAS WRONG<br />BUT WE STRUNG<br />HIM UP<br />AND NOW HE&rsquo;S<br />GONE.&rdquo;<br /><br />James stopped and pulled out his cell phone to snap a picture: &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve been getting it wrong for a long time. It&rsquo;s time people started paying attention to that.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 17:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-james-kluppelberg-sells-his-wedding-ring-finds-new-love Art takes on street harassment of women http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/art-takes-street-harassment-women-109953 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/street-harassment_140402_nm_crop_0.jpg" title="An illustration from the “Stop Telling Women to Smile” art campaign. (WBEZ/Natalie Moore)" /></div><p>&ldquo;Hey, girl. Why you look mad? Smile!&rdquo;</p><p>I hear this from men on a regular basis. Walking in any neighborhood. Waiting in line anywhere. Standing on an &lsquo;el&rsquo; platform. But mostly minding my own business. So I roll my eyes, ignore them, and am okay with being pegged as an Evil Black Woman. These men think telling me to smile is a flirty pick-up line uttered with innocent intentions.</p><p>Comments telling me to smile may on the surface seem benign, but the words are intrusive and a form of street harassment. I&rsquo;m not here to pleasure strangers by smiling.</p><p>A provocative arts series addresses these remarks and lets women know these are not isolated experiences.</p><p><a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fstoptellingwomentosmile.com%2FAbout&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNE8CqkQXSJj6a9Vs3HebBnw6A-onw">&ldquo;Stop Telling Women to Smile&rdquo;</a> has adorned buildings in cities across the country. Pieces feature drawings of women with phrases underneath: &ldquo;My name is not baby,&rdquo; &ldquo;Women are not outside for your entertainment,&rdquo; &ldquo;Women do not owe you their time or conversation,&rdquo; and &ldquo;My outfit is not an invitation.&rdquo;</p><p>Brooklyn-based artist Tatyan Falalizadeh&rsquo;s wheat paste illustrations have made it to Chicago -- just in time for <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.stopstreetharassment.org%2Four-work%2Fmeetusonthestreet%2F&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNE2bU_8hA7DKeiAIL6Z93L_gaGUPQ">International Anti-Street Harassment Week</a>, which runs through Saturday. I caught a glimpse of one poster on Garfield Blvd. and Indiana Ave.</p><p>Local advocates from <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fchicago.ihollaback.org%2Fabout%2F&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHX1Pyde2qRxwd15XsJly-IsnzMiQ">Hollaback Chicago!</a> , which uses mobile technology and social media to raise awareness, will paste these illustrations in other neighborhoods later this week.</p><p>&ldquo;We hope that the posters would bring awareness and see that it&rsquo;s not okay,&rdquo; said Katie Davis, Hollaback Chicago! site leader. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t need to smile at you on the street.&rdquo;</p><p>Davis said the images are relatable and are thoughts that many women have had when it comes to offensive language.</p><p>One counter-argument is that men who tell women to smile are being complimentary, not using it as precursor to physical violence.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m willing to kind of go there with that reasoning, but the problem with that is that it ignores the context within which those type of comments happen,&rdquo; said Sharmili Majmudar, executive director of the Chicago-based <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rapevictimadvocates.org%2F&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHykZz4wsAn2Ecj3ZWkTaLH2UmRXA">Rape Victim Advocates</a>.</p><p>The larger context essentially says womens&rsquo; bodies are for entertainment and unsolicited commentary. Women are bombarded by street harassment on a daily basis and therefore are not allowed to be out in public in peace.</p><p>And that can go a step further when someone is assaulted. The appearances of victims are critiqued, and victim-blaming is the fallback.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s part and parcel of this larger way in which it&rsquo;s up to a woman to always be the one that&rsquo;s on the defensive,&rdquo; Majmudar said. &ldquo;You see that at the street harassment level and then you also see that considering the wide range of sexual violence -- you see that at workplace sexual harassment, you see that in sexual assault as well.&rdquo;</p><p>The posters offer a way for women to share harassment stories and also broaden the conversation so people know this seemingly mild form of harassment is bothersome.</p><p>Maybe next time I&rsquo;m harassed on the bus, I&rsquo;ll have to confidence to retort: &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t need to smile at you.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is a WBEZ reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>&nbsp;Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/art-takes-street-harassment-women-109953 CHA launches pilot program for formerly incarcerated http://www.wbez.org/news/cha-launches-pilot-program-formerly-incarcerated-109932 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cook County Jail Holding Cell_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Housing Authority is launching a pilot program so people with criminal backgrounds can live with family members in public housing.</p><p>The family reunification program will allow 50 formerly incarcerated individuals to move back into CHA housing over the next three years. Normally, CHA prohibits anyone with a criminal background to live with relatives. This new program will also include residency in the subsidized housing voucher program, known as Section 8.</p><p>Once people leave prison they often have nowhere to go and return to neighborhoods with high crime and poverty.</p><p>Recently, <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wbez.org%2Fnews%2Fback-old-neighborhood-parolees-struggle-fresh-starts-109685&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNF84CwnJ3U0mSOlyQbLwesWEK3lbA">WBEZ analyzed 2012 data from the Illinois Department of Corrections</a>, and found that thousands of adults return to just a handful of Chicago zip codes after they get out of prison. For example, four West Side zip codes &ndash; 60651, 60644, 60624 and 60612 &ndash; had more than 2,400 parolees return in that one year alone. Many of these neighborhoods already have high rates of violence, unemployment and poverty. The large number of parolees living there becomes a collective burden increasingly hard to bear.</p><p>CHA CEO Michael Merchant said the family reunification program is important because it can &ldquo;support these ex-offenders coming out making sure they have stable environments. I think it&rsquo;s a win-win for everybody. The main thing is we want to make sure the ex-offenders don&rsquo;t become re-offenders out in our neighborhoods.&rdquo;</p><p>Those selected must be on a path toward self-sufficiency and rehabilitation. The Safer Foundation, Lutheran Family Services and St. Leonard&rsquo;s House are the service providers that will recommend the 50 people.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a big step for the city of Chicago to partner with people with criminal records...it will help them reintegrate into the communities,&rdquo; said Anthony Lowery, the policy and advocacy director at the Safer Foundation.</p><p>Sex offenders and people convicted of arson, production of methamphetamine in public housing and fraud with federal housing will not be allowed in the program. They are banned by federal policy.</p><p>The CHA board and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development must first approve the pilot program.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is a WBEZ reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a><u>.&nbsp;</u>Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>&nbsp;and &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p></p> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 07:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cha-launches-pilot-program-formerly-incarcerated-109932 Quinn proposal would relieve overcrowding in prisons http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-proposal-would-relieve-overcrowding-prisons-109929 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP158506660731_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The state budget proposed this week by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn includes money to reopen two recently shuttered youth prisons, in Joliet and Murphysboro. Both were closed in recent years as the Department of Juvenile Justice brought its population down from 1,500 kids to about 900, and Quinn now wants to use them to establish dedicated treatment facilities for adults.</p><p>According to the governor&rsquo;s budget office, the Joliet location would be turned into a prison for 484 seriously mentally ill inmates. The office says the facility could help the Department of Corrections avoid a more costly fix that could be required in an ongoing federal court case.</p><p>The other prison is in Murphysboro, in far southern Illinois. That prison would be a dedicated alcohol addiction treatment center for inmates doing time for drunk driving and could house 430 people.</p><p>Both facilities would help relieve some of the overcrowding in the state&rsquo;s prison system. The governor&rsquo;s budget office estimates the two prisons would create about 400 jobs.&nbsp; Quinn&rsquo;s budget is just a proposal at this point; lawmakers would have to approve the funds.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 16:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-proposal-would-relieve-overcrowding-prisons-109929 Exoneree Diaries: Jacques lends a hand to a new exoneree http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-jacques-lends-hand-new-exoneree-109910 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/jaques_0_0_0_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>&ldquo;Daniel Taylor, Juan Rivera, James Kluppelberg. You know, a lot of them, I was in prison with. So we had a relationship in there. We were friends. We&rsquo;re great. I love being around them.&rdquo;</em></p><p><strong>JACQUES WORE HIS WORK UNIFORM</strong> as he snapped pictures in the packed student meeting room at Northwestern University&rsquo;s law school. Professor and attorney Karen Daniel smiled as she spoke from a podium about her client Daniel Taylor, who had been released less than two weeks before, Cook County&rsquo;s 90th known exoneree since 1989.</p><p>Seated and facing the audience, Daniel wore an orange t-shirt, a shiny watch and what looked to be new jeans and shoes. He had spent more than two decades of a life sentence behind bars for a double murder he had confessed to as a teen. Turned out, it was impossible for him to have committed the crime because he was in police custody for disorderly conduct when the 1992 shooting took place.</p><p>In 1995, Daniel had tried to take his own life in prison. What saved him was an inmate named Brick. Brick was housed a few cells away and called Daniel &ldquo;Black T.&rdquo;</p><p>One day Brick told him, &ldquo;Just because you in prison doesn&rsquo;t mean the fight&rsquo;s over. It just knocks you down a little. Whatcha going to do?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to fight for my life,&rdquo; Daniel responded.</p><p>Now, some 20 years later, Daniel found himself at his homecoming celebration on a blazing Wednesday summer afternoon in Chicago. Lake Michigan sparkled through the 8th floor windows behind him. People smiled, dabbing their eyes with tissues. Streamers and paper decorations sparsely adorned the university hall, and a caramel cake, Daniel&rsquo;s favorite, and some other refreshments waited in the wings.</p><p>A basket sat on a small table by the podium. It was to be full of roses, one flower for each year he was incarcerated. Someone explained to Daniel they would present him with the roses, one by one, to allow his friends, family and supporters to say something in his honor.</p><p>As a line of law students and exonerated prisoners began to form, Daniel&rsquo;s little brother David arrived late to the celebration, scanning the crowd timidly. He had been to prison a few times, Daniel noted, but his own incarceration may have saved his brother from a similar fate.</p><p>&ldquo;Where&rsquo;s your mother?&rdquo; someone asked.</p><p>&ldquo;My mom couldn&rsquo;t make it,&rdquo; Daniel answered for his brother. &ldquo;She had to work.&rdquo;</p><p>Karen Daniel, who invested years in fighting his case with the help of law students, offered her rose to him and read from a J.R.R. Tolkien passage &ndash; admittedly &ldquo;not her style,&rdquo; she told the crowd.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s just fantasy,&rdquo; she explained, preparing to read from a scene where Lord of the Rings characters, Sam and Frodo, are having trouble achieving their goals.</p><p>&ldquo;It&#39;s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo,&rdquo; Karen Daniel read from Tolkien. &ldquo;The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn&#39;t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it&#39;s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come.&rdquo;</p><p>Daniel smiled. She smiled back.</p><p>The next person in line walked up and handed Daniel a rose: &ldquo;Welcome back to the world.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;From one exoneree to the next. You guys, welcome home,&rdquo; the next in line told him.</p><p>&ldquo;Surreal,&rdquo; said law student William Staes, giving Daniel a rose.</p><p>Another law student, Brian O&rsquo;Connell, tried to put a rose in the basket, but it fell to the ground. The audience laughed. The last time O&rsquo;Connell had seen Daniel, they couldn&rsquo;t shake hands because glass separated them.</p><p>&ldquo;I consider you part of my family,&rdquo; a man named Miles told Daniel, a rose in one hand and a baby tucked under his arm.</p><p>&ldquo;Most men in prison won&rsquo;t admit this, but this man is the only man in prison who&rsquo;s seen me cry,&rdquo; Daniel told everyone, laughing.</p><p>False confession expert and legal director at the Center on Wrongful Convictions, Steven Drizin, was up next. He gave one rose to Daniel and one to another exoneree sitting beside him.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re doing everything we can,&rdquo; Drizin said of Daniel&rsquo;s co-defendant and friend Deon Patrick, still behind bars.</p><p>Jacques was up next. He jokingly grabbed all the roses from the basket, garnering laughs from the group.</p><p>&ldquo;This is my brother Daniel,&rdquo; he said proudly. &ldquo;We met in Stateville Correctional Center. If nobody in the city of Chicago will say this, I apologize that it took this long.&rdquo;</p><p>As Jacques spoke to his friend, the crowd seemed to disappear. Jacques told Daniel they should kick around at the beach. He had his number.</p><p>&ldquo;I got your number,&rdquo; Daniel nodded.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m in this with you,&rdquo; Jacques told him. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re not alone.&rdquo;</p><p>Jacques handed him a rose: &ldquo;Watch out for that thorn!&rdquo;</p><p>Daniel mumbled something about being stabbed before. He held the basket of roses up and brought it to his nose, slowly breathing in the floral aroma.</p><p>He walked up to the podium, telling the crowd he was shy but that he would try to get through a speech. He wasn&rsquo;t going to miss his chance to take the mic, he said. In prison, there was none.</p><p>He said he knew it wasn&rsquo;t going to be easy.</p><p>&ldquo;(But) the only way to get it done is to get started,&rdquo; Daniel said.</p></p> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 11:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/exoneree-diaries/exoneree-diaries-jacques-lends-hand-new-exoneree-109910 Compare: Illinois governor candidates' views on concealed carry http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/compare-illinois-governor-candidates-views-concealed-carry-109845 <p><p><em>Editor&rsquo;s note: This episode of the Curious City podcast includes a story about what the candidates for Illinois governor think about the state&rsquo;s new concealed-carry law. It starts 6 minutes, 30 seconds into the program. (Subscribe via <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/curious-city/id568409161">iTunes </a>or <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CuriousCityPodcast">Feedburner</a>!) This topic was also <a href="https://soundcloud.com/afternoonshiftwbez/curious-city-gay-marriage-and" target="_blank">discussed on WBEZ&#39;s The Afternoon Shift</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p>Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford of Elgin, Ill., had a perception about guns and violence that made her curious about the crop of primary candidates vying to be the state&rsquo;s governor. Her suspicion? The more that people carry guns in public, the higher the likelihood of gun violence.</p><p>With this highly-debated viewpoint in hand, she sent Curious City this question, just in time for the March 18 primary:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>What would the candidates for Illinois governor do to prevent gun violence once thousands of residents are granted concealed carry permits?</em></p><p>There&rsquo;s a lot to unpack here, including some basic information about the state&rsquo;s concealed carry law.</p><p>First, Illinois was the last state in the country to adopt concealed carry and, even then, the lawmakers didn&rsquo;t act on their own; they were forced to pass a bill &mdash; any bill &mdash; by a federal judge who had ruled it&rsquo;s unconstitutional to not allow people to carry concealed guns in public. The legislature approved such a bill in May 2013.</p><p>The timing&rsquo;s not lost on Cheryl, who tells us she once appreciated that Illinois had not allowed concealed carry, and she feels the policy was foisted on the state.</p><p>But now, she said, &ldquo;The way our elected officials respond is going to be crucial.&rdquo;</p><p>Cheryl&rsquo;s onto something here. The first few thousand applicants have just begun receiving their concealed carry permits from the Illinois State Police. That means that &mdash; between the primary and November&rsquo;s general election &mdash; state residents will have a better idea of what living in a state with concealed carry really feels like.</p><p>And there may be pressure, one way or another, to rework the policy.</p><p>So how would the candidates respond?</p><p>To the best of our ability, we let the<a href="#views"> candidates themselves speak to this</a>. But since several of them cite studies about the relationship between violence, crime and concealed carry policy, we also compared their statements to what&rsquo;s being said about concealed carry by academics. While answering Cheryl&#39;s question, we found the bottom line is that the lack of consensus among the candidates is pretty much reflected by a lack of consensus in the research.</p><p><strong>Good guy gun ownership, bad guy gun ownership</strong></p><p>So what effect do concealed carry laws have on violence? It&rsquo;s important to tease out because politicians often cite research to back their positions. And &mdash; as you&rsquo;ll read and hear below &mdash; the academic findings run the gamut..</p><p>(A clarification: Cheryl asked about positions related to concealed carry and violence. Researchers we reached out to look at violent crime, but other types of crime, as well.)</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Tio%20H%20from%20campaign.jpg" style="margin: 5px; height: 190px; width: 285px; float: right;" title="Tio Hardiman is challenging Governor Quinn in the Democratic Primary. (Photo courtesy of the Tio Hardiman campaign)" /><a href="http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/493636.html" target="_blank">John Lott</a> has studied the effects of concealed carry laws on crime rates. He wrote a book called More Guns, Less Crime, which pretty much sums up where he stands.</p><p>&ldquo;The fact that a would-be victim might be able to defend themselves also deters crime,&rdquo; Lott said in a phone interview with WBEZ.</p><p>Lott&rsquo;s research of municipal crime data from across the country suggests crime drops after concealed carry laws take effect, and the more concealed carry permits that are issued, the more it drops.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, all sorts of claims about &lsquo;Bad things are gonna happen, you know, blood in the streets?&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;A year from now, everybody&rsquo;s gonna say, &lsquo;What was this debate all about?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s particularly true for Illinois, Lott said, because strict requirements on obtaining a concealed carry permit may limit the number of people who get them.</p><p>But here&rsquo;s where things get a little complex, if not outright confusing.</p><p><a href="http://www.law.stanford.edu/profile/john-j-donohue-iii" target="_blank">John Donohue</a>, a professor at Stanford, has also studied the effects of concealed carry laws on crime rates, and his research suggests the exact opposite of what Lott found.</p><p>&ldquo;If I had to bet my house, I&rsquo;d say more likely that they have adverse impacts than that they have a beneficial impact,&rdquo; Donohue said, adding the caveat that the current available research models aren&rsquo;t perfect.</p><p>Still, Donohue said he&rsquo;s doing preliminary work with a new research model that suggests right-to-carry laws lead to more aggravated assaults.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4655925819_1f5bc72c99_o.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: left; height: 183px; width: 275px;" title="Incumbent Pat Quinn advocates for firmer restrictions on concealed carry. (Flickr/Chris Eaves)" /></p><p>And then there&rsquo;s a third position held by other researchers about what happens to crime rates in right-to-carry states, as expressed by Prof. <a href="http://www.criminology.fsu.edu/p/faculty-gary-kleck.php" target="_blank">Gary Kleck</a> from Florida State University.</p><p>&ldquo;Other things being equal, nothing happens,&rdquo; Kleck said. &ldquo;Good guy gun ownership has crime-reducing effects and bad guy gun ownership has crime-elevating effects.&rdquo;</p><p>The reason there are so many contradictory opinions is that none of these folks can agree on what data they should be looking at or how they should be looking at it. Kleck said this gets into differences over the minutiae of crime research models.</p><p>&ldquo;There may be only one right way to do it, but there&rsquo;s like a million different wrong ways to do it. And yeah, if you&rsquo;re a layperson, you&rsquo;re just &lsquo;Joe Regular Guy&rsquo; trying to figure it out, you&rsquo;re doomed,&rdquo; Kleck said. &ldquo;I mean, there&rsquo;s nothing I can say to help you out because you&rsquo;re not gonna be qualified to see those ... flaws in the research.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP463233027879.jpg" style="margin: 5px; height: 303px; width: 450px;" title="The GOP candidates, from left to right, state Sen. Bill Brady, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford, state Sen. Kirk Dillard, and businessman Bruce Rauner prepare to debate. (AP Photo/Chicago Tribune, Terrence Antonio James, Pool)" /></div><p><strong>Where the candidates stand</strong></p><p>All this is to show that concealed carry is a complicated, controversial issue. But we wanted to illustrate that even among the experts &mdash; the folks whom politicians are citing &mdash; there&rsquo;s not a consensus.</p><p>We posed Cheryl&rsquo;s question to all six major party campaigns, but we had to track down responses in very different ways. In three cases we were able to ask candidates directly, either at press conferences or via phone calls. For the others, we had to search for answers through other avenues. In some cases, we extrapolated a position based on the candidate&rsquo;s previous statements on concealed carry, crime, violence and guns.</p><p><strong>Democrat Tio Hardiman</strong></p><p>He is the only candidate who acknowledged the conflicting research that we encountered.</p><p>&ldquo;I cannot penalize, not with a good conscience, penalize legal gun owners for the violence problem in Illinois. There&rsquo;s no data to back it up. So if people would like to exercise their right to the Second Amendment, they should be able to do so.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Republican State Sen. Bill Brady</strong></p><p>&ldquo;We also have to understand that this is about public safety and driving down crime. We know that in every state where concealed carry took place, crime went down. And we need to give our citizens the opportunity to protect themselves and watch crime go down.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Republican State Sen. Kirk Dillard</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Illinois is the last state in America to allow people to protect themselves. It took the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to force the state of Illinois to allow people to have the same right they had in all 49 other states, let alone keep the criminals guessing. I take a wait and see approach. I think we ought to wait and see how this law unfurls for a while before we make any changes, pro or con, to it.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Republican businessman Bruce Rauner</strong></p><p>We didn&rsquo;t get a direct response from Bruce Rauner, but he addressed themes in Cheryl&rsquo;s question during a debate.</p><p>&ldquo;I think concealed carry was long overdue. Gun ownership is an important constitutional right. We should end the approach that many politicians take in Illinois and that is to blame our crime problems on gun ownership. Our crime problems are one of, crimes about inadequate police staffing, high unemployment and horrible schools, not about gun ownership.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Republican State Treasurer Dan Rutherford</strong></p><p>In previous statements, including this one from a debate in northwest suburban Hoffman Estates, he&rsquo;s said he wants the Illinois State Police to oversee gun licenses efficiently.</p><p>&ldquo;If I was king of the forest or if I was the governor and I was able to help influence it, it would be a different bill than what it was. I think what we need to be very, very sensitive to, though, is the evolution of this. The evolution could be, as you suggested, perhaps making it better and more enhancing. But as well an evolution could also put us backwards if we don&rsquo;t have the right people in the governor&rsquo;s office, we don&rsquo;t have the right people in the General Assembly. One of the performance reviews that I will be doing is with regards to State Police. Why does it take so long to process a FOID card? Why does it take so long to process the application for your concealed carry? Those are unacceptable.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn</strong></p><p>The governor didn&rsquo;t seem to like any part of the process of negotiating the concealed carry bill last year, and he <a href="http://www3.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=2&amp;RecNum=11323" target="_blank">vetoed parts of it </a>in the name of safety. Those changes were overridden by the General Assembly.</p><p>&ldquo;This is about public safety. I think that public safety should never be compromised, never be negotiated away. The governor, that&rsquo;s me, my job is to protect public safety and I think that&rsquo;s what I&rsquo;m doing here with these common sense changes. I think we need to repeat that over and over again. The things I&rsquo;ve outlined today that have changed this bill are all about common sense and public safety and I think the General Assembly and the members should put aside politics and focus on people and their safety.&rdquo;<a name="views"></a></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/26501739&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe">Alex Keefe</a> is a political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p><p><em>This report received additional support through <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center">Front &amp; Center</a>, an occasional WBEZ series funded by The Joyce Foundation.</em></p></p> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 19:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/compare-illinois-governor-candidates-views-concealed-carry-109845