WBEZ | court http://www.wbez.org/tags/court Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Why Courts Use Anonymous Juries, Like In Freddie Gray Case http://www.wbez.org/news/why-courts-use-anonymous-juries-freddie-gray-case-114000 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/jurybox_wide-28f5cc47a90bb14a2bad47261dcea726dad7d057-s700-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457917621" previewtitle="The empty jury box in courtroom 23A on the 23rd floor of the Orange County Courthouse, site of the State of Florida vs. Case Anthony murder trial in 2011. Orlando Sentinel/MCT /Landov"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The empty jury box in courtroom 23A on the 23rd floor of the Orange County Courthouse, site of the State of Florida vs. Case Anthony murder trial in 2011. Orlando Sentinel/MCT /Landov" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/30/jurybox_wide-28f5cc47a90bb14a2bad47261dcea726dad7d057-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="The empty jury box in courtroom 23A on the 23rd floor of the Orange County Courthouse, site of the State of Florida vs. Case Anthony murder trial in 2011. (Orlando Sentinel/MCT /Landov)" /></div><div><div><p>The jurors who will be chosen to hear the first case against a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/30/457868608/first-officer-implicated-in-freddie-grays-death-goes-on-trial-in-baltimore">police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray</a>&nbsp;in Baltimore will be anonymous, at least for now.</p></div></div></div><p>A judge has ruled that their identities can be shielded from the public. That practice is controversial, but not unheard of in high-profile cases.</p><p>Experts trace the first completely anonymous jury &mdash; secret not just to the media, but also to the defendant &mdash; to 1977. That&#39;s when a judge worried about possible jury tampering by a drug kingpin named Leroy &quot;Nicky&quot; Barnes, a man also known as Mr. Untouchable.</p><p>&quot;They tend to be only used in very, very high-profile trials or trials in which there is a serious threat to either the safety of the jurors or the integrity of the jury process,&quot; said Paula Hannaford-Agor, who studies jury issues at the National Center for State Courts.</p><p>Hannaford-Agor said there are plenty of examples in recent years of a more limited approach: keeping juror names from the public and the press during the trial but releasing the information later. She said courts recognize a legitimate need to protect the jury.</p><p>&quot;There are issues associated with this; this is not necessarily a risk-free civic engagement,&quot; she said.</p><p>By issues, she meant everything from reporters with TV cameras turning up at a juror&#39;s door late at night to death threats from neighbors unhappy about the verdict.</p><p>That happened in Florida in 2011, when a young woman named Casey Anthony was acquitted of murder in the death of her daughter.</p><p>&quot;Vendors were putting up signs in their windows, &#39;Casey Anthony jurors not welcome here.&#39; One juror essentially left the state because she was actually afraid for her life,&quot; Hannaford-Agor recalled.</p><p>First Amendment scholars worry that secrecy once reserved for cases of gang activity and terrorism has been extended to jurors in lots of other contexts.</p><p>Cases in point: the corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the prosecution of George Zimmerman, the self-described neighborhood watchman who killed Trayvon Martin in Florida three years ago.</p><p>In the prosecution of Baltimore police Officer William Porter, his lawyers wrote that potential jurors could face a lot of pushback from the community.</p><p>&quot;In the current climate, saying &#39;not guilty&#39; regardless of the evidence or the lack thereof presented by the state, and then returning to your daily life will take great courage on the part of the citizenry,&quot; wrote attorneys Joseph Murtha and Gary Proctor. &quot;It is possible, indeed probable, that an acquittal of Officer Porter will lead to further civil unrest. But this officer deserves his trial without any &#39;sacrificial lamb&#39; thinking on the part of jury members.&quot;</p><p>Gregg Leslie closely follows media law issues as legal defense director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.</p><p>&quot;If you start by default having jurors who are secret even well after the trial, it really will start to and in fact it has I think started to have an effect on how the public perceives how just the system is,&quot; Leslie said.</p><p>Leslie pointed out that the nation is already debating the fairness of the justice system, in part because of the deaths of young black men like Freddie Gray in encounters with police.</p><p>Leslie said transparency as these cases move through the courts will help restore credibility. It&#39;s true that jurors may be exposed to unwanted attention, with some cost to their privacy, at the end of a trial, but Leslie said too much secrecy also has a cost.</p><p>&quot;When secrecy becomes the norm, some of those jurors will be less candid in voir dire, figuring they&#39;ll never be held accountable for it,&quot; Leslie said, &quot;so secrecy breeds greater corruption and greater problems within the system.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/30/457905697/why-courts-use-anonymous-juries-like-in-freddie-gray-case?ft=nprml&amp;f=457905697" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 16:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/why-courts-use-anonymous-juries-freddie-gray-case-114000 Evanston man hit by truck, finds himself at fault http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/evanston-man-hit-truck-finds-himself-fault-111371 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150109 Andrew Emily bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>About four years ago, Andrew Kerr was crossing the street in Evanston when a city utility truck drove down the block. He didn&#39;t see it and was hit by the truck and thrown about twenty feet in the air.</p><p>Kerr recently came to the StoryCorps Booth with his friend and neighbor Emily Grayson to talk about the incident, and the lasting impact it&rsquo;s had on his life.</p><p>&ldquo;Do you remember the moment it happened?&rdquo; Grayon asks him. &ldquo;I kinda remember only the moment it happened,&rdquo; Kerr says. &ldquo;Just the sheer terror of realizing I was going to get hit by a moving truck in the face. And there was no getting out of the way. And the next thing I remember was waking up in the hospital.&rdquo;</p><p>There, Kerr learned the severity of the accident - he had some brain injuries, his skull and arm were fractured and he had bruised some ribs. The hospital staff was supportive throughout his rehabilitation and pushed him when he needed to be pushed.</p><p>&ldquo;There was this CNA who worked there,&rdquo; Kerr says. &ldquo;And he was the one who was like &lsquo;You&rsquo;ve been here this many days? You need to stand up today.&rsquo; And I was terrified. I remember just sobbing in fear about trying to walk. And him holding me, this stranger in a hospital, doesn&rsquo;t know me, a nursing assistant helping me take my first steps after having brain injury, lying in this bed for a week or whatever it was, and pushing me like someone who cared.&rdquo;</p><p>Kerr&rsquo;s wife was also at his side. He had known her since he was a teenager.</p><p>The accident caused several permanent injuries in Kerr, including significant hearing loss, and the loss of his sense of smell.</p><p>Kerr owns a small construction company in Evanston and when the accident happened his wife called his clients and kept the business going. Through all of it, Kerr&rsquo;s wife was at his side, taking care of their small children too.</p><p>&ldquo;I best describe it as watching my own episode of &lsquo;It&rsquo;s a Wonderful Life,&rsquo;&rdquo; Kerr says. &ldquo;Being alive to see how loved I am: My customers lining up to help, which to me said I mean something in your life. My mechanic came and visited me in the hospital. The guy from Home Depot brought me fresh fruit, just because he was concerned. I&rsquo;m amazed at how many people came together.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 09 Jan 2015 09:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/evanston-man-hit-truck-finds-himself-fault-111371 Daily Rehearsal: Who's been to Noble Horse Theatre? http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-16/daily-rehearsal-whos-been-noble-horse-theatre-94976 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-16/nutcracker.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. <em>Assisted Living</em> by Profiles Theatre</strong></span></span> has been extended through January 15, with the cast remaining intact, including the guest artists.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2.&nbsp;Redtwist Theatre wants you to know</strong></span></span> that they've just gotten their 10th Jeff recommendation in a row; this one's for their production of <em>Opus </em>that you can see right now. In fact, every Jeff-eligible show that went up in their regular season starting two years ago has been nominated. The best part? An adorable message from Artistic Director Michael Colucci, who says, "We're not sure if this is a record but we're proud to be consistently recognized for all our hard work."</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-16/nutcracker.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 200px; height: 320px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. In January, you'll need a reason to leave the house</strong></span></span>. The Joffrey knows this, and in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., they'll have an African Dance Master Class on January 16. Any one of any experience level can go -- which means you and your family -- and will be taught by Andrea Vinson, who <a href="http://www.joffrey.com/people/andrea-vinson-0">has been dancing for 25 years</a>. You're in good hands.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Also in January:<em> Invisible Man</em> opening at Court</strong></span></span>. Their first rehearsal was this week; <a href="http://www.courttheatre.org/blog/comments/the_fear_and_joy_of_chaos/">check out Court's blog "Open Rehearsal"</a> (we're fraternal twins, it seems) for a photo and more details. The production seems well suited to premiere at this particular theater, as Ralph Ellison once taught at UChicago. And fittingly, they've scheduled their first post-show discussion with scholar David Bevington and dramaturg Drew Dir for February 1.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Query: has anyone attended a production at <a href="http://www.noblehorsechicago.com/">Noble Horse Theatre</a>?</strong></span></span> It is like a real, live horse performance show with dinner, and they're currently doing <em>The Nutcracker</em>. Also, if you take the CTA brown line north, you can see them loading hay into the back of the theater. Perks. (They gently remind you that if you have allergies, this is not the place for you.)</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Fri, 16 Dec 2011 16:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-16/daily-rehearsal-whos-been-noble-horse-theatre-94976 U.S. court upholds Obama's health-care overhaul http://www.wbez.org/story/us-court-upholds-obamas-health-care-overhaul-93852 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-08/obama-flag.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WASHINGTON — A conservative-leaning panel of U.S. appellate judges on Tuesday upheld President Barack Obama's health-care law as constitutional, helping set up a Supreme Court fight.</p><p>A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington issued a split opinion upholding the lower court's ruling that found Congress did not overstep its authority in requiring people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty on their taxes, beginning in 2014.</p><p>The requirement is the most controversial requirement of Obama's signature domestic legislative achievement and the focus of conflicting opinions from judges across the country. The Supreme Court is expected to decide soon, perhaps within days, whether to accept appeals from some of those earlier rulings.</p><p>The suit in Washington was brought by the American Center for Law and Justice, a legal group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson. It claimed that the insurance mandate is unconstitutional because it forces Americans to buy a product for the rest of their lives and that it violates the religious freedom of those who choose not to have insurance because they rely on God to protect them from harm.</p><p>But the court ruled that Congress had the power to pass the requirement to ensure that all Americans can have health care coverage, even if it infringes on individual liberty.</p><p>"The right to be free from federal regulation is not absolute and yields to the imperative that Congress be free to forge national solutions to national problems," Judge Laurence Silberman wrote in the court's opinion. Silberman was joined by Judge Harry Edwards.</p><p>Judge Brett Kavanaugh disagreed with the conclusion without taking a position on the merits of the law. He wrote a lengthy opinion arguing the court doesn't have jurisdiction to review the health care mandate until after it takes effect in 2014.</p><p>The federal appeals court in Cincinnati also upheld the law. The federal appeals court in Atlanta struck down the core requirement that Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty, while upholding the rest of the law.</p><p>And like Kavanaugh's dissenting opinion, an appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, ruled it was premature to decide the law's constitutionality.</p></p> Tue, 08 Nov 2011 17:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/us-court-upholds-obamas-health-care-overhaul-93852 Court: Illinois construction plan unconstitutional http://www.wbez.org/story/construction-plan/court-rules-construction-plan-violated-constitution <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//state capitol_getty.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn plans to appeal a court ruling striking down a $31 billion dollar statewide construction plan. <br /><br />The appellate court ruling, issued Wednesday, said the construction plan, which is meant to pay for big roads, bridge and school projects, is unconstitutional. The court wrote that the legislation violated the &quot;single subject&quot; clause of the Illinois Constitution, which requires bills be&nbsp; &quot;confined to one subject.&quot;<br /><br />The construction projects were slated to be funded - in part - through video gaming, and boosted taxes on candy, grooming products and liquor. In a unanimous decision, the three member appellate panel found the legislation to be too broad.<br /><br />The suit was filed by Rocky Wirtz, owner of the Chicago Blackhawks and a beverage distributor, who objected to the liquor taxes.</p><p class="MsoNormal">&ldquo;This lawsuit was always about how the legislature passed this bill and the discriminatory tax on wine and spirits,&quot; Julia Sznewajs, a spokeperson for Wirtz Beverage Illinois, wrote in a statement. &quot;The decision affirms that and we are gratified by it.&quot;<br /><br />A spokeswoman for Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Robyn Zeigler, said in an email that the state will ask the Illinois Supreme Court for an immediate stay of the decision. That will be filed Thursday, Zeigler said.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Governor Quinn used the capital bill as a major plank on his re-election campaign last year. His office issued a statement Wednesday claiming that the law has already put thousands of Illinoisans back to work.</p><p>&quot;While the administration&rsquo;s request for a stay is pending with the Illinois Supreme Court, capital projects already in progress will continue as scheduled,&quot; the Governor's office said.</p><p>Likewise, the appellate court's ruling does not mean collection of the related taxes must immediately stop.</p><p>Quinn's spokesperson, Brie Callahan, said that until the Supreme Court rules on the request for a stay, &quot;we're maintaining the status quo.&quot;</p></p> Wed, 26 Jan 2011 20:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/construction-plan/court-rules-construction-plan-violated-constitution New agreement reached for disabled http://www.wbez.org/story/agreement/new-agreement-reached-disabled <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//man in wheelchair_gettyimages.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A new settlement in a civil rights case could affect nearly 10,000 adults with developmental disabilities in Illinois.</p><p>The agreement was filed Tuesday in federal court in Chicago.</p><p>It takes into account the objections of families who worried a prior version would have forced their loved ones out of residential care facilities. A judge rejected that version in 2009.</p><p>This version more clearly spells out that people who are happy living in large private institutions could stay where they are. Or they could choose to move to smaller homes and get support services in the community.</p><p>The new agreement, if approved by a judge, would settle claims Illinois violates the rights of the developmentally disabled by segregating them in large institutions.</p><p>The case is Ligas v. Hamos.</p></p> Tue, 11 Jan 2011 20:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/agreement/new-agreement-reached-disabled Video conference court hearings for inmates at Cook County Jail? http://www.wbez.org/story/video-conference-court-hearings-inmates-cook-county-jail <p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he wants to stop transporting inmates from the Cook County Jail to their hearings in suburban court rooms. Instead, he said they can attend through video conferencing which could save the county a lot of money.&nbsp;</p><p>Dart spent five years as an assistant state's attorney, and during that time he learned that many of the court hearings are pretty insignificant. &quot;The defendant comes out of the back room, stands in front of the judge, does not utter a syllable. His attorney hands the prosecutor a document. The state's attorney hands the defense attorney a document, and the individual goes back to the lock up and off they go. And that's 80 percent of the cases, and that's just a monumental waste, there is no point of conflict, no issues being discussed, nothing,&quot;&nbsp;said Dart.<br /> <br /> Dart said he's been pushing video conferenced status hearings as a way to save money for the last couple years, but the idea has some added weight now because last week the incoming county board president Toni Preckwinkle told each elected county official that they're going to have to cut their budgets by 21%.</p></p> Mon, 22 Nov 2010 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/video-conference-court-hearings-inmates-cook-county-jail