WBEZ | Tom Dart http://www.wbez.org/tags/tom-dart Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Cook County inmates compete with Russian inmates in online chess match http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cook-county-inmates-compete-russian-inmates-online-chess-match-107191 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Chess_130515_sh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Inside the Cook County Jail law library, 10 men were hunched over laptops playing online chess. A live video of their competitors, all Russian inmates, was projected on the wall.</p><p>Correctional Officer Patrice Faulkner roamed the room, encouraging players to take their time. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m nervous, because this is a big deal,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The program is run by Mikhail Korenman, who met chess legend Anatoly Karpov last year. The two chess players, along with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, hatched the idea for this tournament, which, according to Dart, is the first of its kind.</p><p>It was a hard match. The U.S. team was entirely from Cook County, while Russia chose players from across the country&rsquo;s prison system.</p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he had no delusions the match would solve current diplomatic issues between the U.S. and Russia. But he thought chess was a good activity for the men because it encouraged thinking ahead five or six moves, because you must consider the future impact of every action.</p><p>Warren Jackson, one of today&rsquo;s players, said he had seen that change in himself, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m more proactive than reactive now. So I do think chess plays a heavy game when it comes down to you making decisions.&rdquo;</p><p>In the end, Russia won. But Dalvin Brown, Chicago&rsquo;s star player, won both his games. Karpov complimented his skills and the Russians said they will be sending him a chessboard.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 15 May 2013 16:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cook-county-inmates-compete-russian-inmates-online-chess-match-107191 Sheriff warns Indian immigrants of scam http://www.wbez.org/news/sheriff-warns-indian-immigrants-scam-107079 <p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is <a href="http://www.cookcountysheriff.com/press_page/press_AsianIndianComScam_05_07_2013.html">warning Indian immigrants about a phone scam </a>that&rsquo;s recently targeted several victims in unincorporated Des Plaines. Victims received calls in which they were told they owed money to the Internal Revenue Service or to a collections agency, and that failure to pay would result in arrest or deportation.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The amounts actually vary from victim to victim in the reports that we&rsquo;ve had, but in some cases it&rsquo;s been in the thousands,&rdquo; said Sophia Ansari, Press Secretary at the Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s Office. Ansari said the caller often instructed victims to pay with a replenishable debit card.</p><p dir="ltr">The perpetrator spoke to the victims in English, Hindi, Gujarati and other Indian dialects.</p><p dir="ltr">Ansari said anyone who receives a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or from a collections agency should record the name and number of the caller, and to contact the agency that the caller purports to represent.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her at <a href="http://www.twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 08 May 2013 13:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sheriff-warns-indian-immigrants-scam-107079 Cook County Sheriff proposes concealed-carry ordinance http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-sheriff-proposes-concealed-carry-ordinance-107034 <p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is proposing a county concealed-carry ordinance if lawmakers in Springfield can&#39;t come up with a statewide law.</p><p>A federal court has ruled Illinois&#39; ban on the public possession of firearms is unconstitutional and gave the state until June 9 to come up with a concealed-carry law.</p><p>But the Chicago Sun-Times <a href="http://bit.ly/11aGsgn" target="_blank">reports</a> that Dart worries that if lawmakers don&#39;t come up with anything by then, it will be legal for anyone with a firearm owners&#39; identification card to carry a gun anywhere.</p><p>So he wants a countywide ordinance ready to go just in case. His ordinance would give him the authority to approve and reject licenses to carry concealed firearms in the county and applicants would have to pay $300 fee for a license.</p></p> Mon, 06 May 2013 14:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-sheriff-proposes-concealed-carry-ordinance-107034 Dart: ‘We’re criminalizing mental health’ http://www.wbez.org/news/dart-%E2%80%98we%E2%80%99re-criminalizing-mental-health%E2%80%99-102218 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Dart2cropped.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says mentally ill jail inmates are overwhelming his staff. For now, though, he&rsquo;s not backing calls for Chicago to reopen six mental-health clinics it closed this spring.</p><p>At a Logan Square forum about the clinics Wednesday night, Dart said too many people with mental illnesses lacked professional care. &ldquo;When we don&rsquo;t fund services properly, they end up in my jail,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>&ldquo;What we are, in fact, doing is criminalizing mental health,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what we&rsquo;re doing.&rdquo;</p><p>The audience, packed into a church near one of the shuttered clinics, burst into applause.</p><p>The forum&rsquo;s organizers handed out a press release that said Dart supported their calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration to reopen and fully staff the clinics.</p><p>Later, however, Dart told WBEZ he wasn&rsquo;t making any demands.</p><p>&ldquo;What I want is a thorough plan that we&rsquo;re going to be advocating for,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;Could it involve more clinics? Could be. Could it involve more state money being funded for specific services? Could be. Literally nothing is off the table.&rdquo;</p><p>Dart said his office would come up with that plan by year&rsquo;s end.</p></p> Wed, 05 Sep 2012 23:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/dart-%E2%80%98we%E2%80%99re-criminalizing-mental-health%E2%80%99-102218 NATO terrorism defendants kept in ‘observation’ cells http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-terrorism-defendants-kept-%E2%80%98observation%E2%80%99-cells-99442 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS5837_AP120519150342-scr_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A spokesman for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says three anti-NATO protesters accused of planning terrorist actions have been held around-the-clock since Saturday in white-walled &ldquo;observation&rdquo; cells, where they are isolated from each other and the rest of the inmate population and kept from writing materials, books and all other media.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s for their own safety and the safety of the [jail] staff and other inmates,&rdquo; the spokesman, Frank Bilecki, said Tuesday afternoon. &ldquo;Obviously we&rsquo;re concerned about their mental status and well-being.&rdquo;</p><p>A medical staff member checks on the three every 15 minutes, Bilecki said. The cells each have one window through which natural light passes and a larger window for the observation, he added.</p><p>Gary Hickerson, acting executive director of the office&rsquo;s Department of Corrections, ordered the observation because the defendants are young and because their charges are serious, Bilecki said. The decision had nothing to do with defendants&rsquo; behavior since arrest, he added.</p><p>The sheriff&rsquo;s spokesman says the State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s office had no input into the protesters&rsquo; jail conditions.</p><p>But a lawyer for one of the alleged terrorists says the conditions amount to &ldquo;sensory deprivation&rdquo; intended to hamper their defense. &ldquo;This is a way to break someone&rsquo;s spirit and break their ability to cooperate with their attorneys,&rdquo; said the lawyer, Michael Deutsch, who represents Brian Church, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.</p><p>Deutsch complained about the conditions in a court hearing about the case Tuesday afternoon. Defense attorneys said they were &ldquo;negotiating&rdquo; with jail staff members to improve the conditions.</p><p>Those talks may be paying off. Bilecki said the jail was planning to move the three protesters Tuesday evening into the general inmate population.</p><p>Church and the other protesters &mdash; Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, N.H; and Brent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla. &mdash; face charges of terrorism conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism, and possession of explosives or incendiary devices. Cook County Judge Edward S. Harmening on Saturday set their bonds at $1.5 million each.</p><p>Authorities accused the trio of possessing Molotov cocktails and planning or proposing attacks on targets including President Barack Obama&rsquo;s campaign headquarters and Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s home. The three were among nine people arrested during a police raid last Wednesday at the South Side apartment of some Occupy Chicago leaders who helped organize protests against the NATO summit.</p><p>Church, Chase and Betterly appeared at Tuesday&rsquo;s hearing in tan jail uniforms but did not speak. Judge Adam D. Bourgeois Jr. granted a request by prosecutors to continue the case until June 12.</p><p>At least two other anti-NATO protesters arrested last week face serious felony charges. Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, of Chicago is charged with falsely making a terrorist threat. Mark Neiweem, 28, of Chicago is charged with solicitation for explosives or incendiary devices. A judge on Sunday set their bonds at $750,000 and $500,000, respectively.</p><p>Senakiewicz and Neiweem are scheduled for a status hearing Wednesday.</p></p> Tue, 22 May 2012 15:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-terrorism-defendants-kept-%E2%80%98observation%E2%80%99-cells-99442 ICE detainers a public-safety issue? http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-detainers-public-safety-issue-99190 <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/Napolitano.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 280px; height: 303px;" title="In April 25 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano calls a Cook County policy of disregarding the detainers ‘terribly misguided.’ (AP/Susan Walsh)" /></div><p><em>More than eight months since it passed, an ordinance that ended Cook County Jail compliance with immigration detainers keeps causing sparks. The detainers </em>&mdash; <em>requests that the jail hold inmates up to two business days beyond what their criminal cases require </em>&mdash; <em>help federal officials put the inmates into deportation proceedings. Sheriff Tom Dart and some county commissioners are pressing for the ordinance to be scaled back. So is President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration. They all say their motive is to keep dangerous criminals locked up. Yet officials offer no evidence whether inmates freed by the ordinance endanger the public more than other former inmates do. A WBEZ investigation sheds the first light.</em></p><p>The ordinance cut ties between the jail and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency known as ICE. It passed last September. County Commissioner Tim Schneider offered a prediction.</p><p>SCHNEIDER: Under this ordinance, gang bangers, people involved in drug dealing, sex trafficking and criminal sexual assault will be released back into our communities that with these ICE detainers would be held and would be deported. This is clearly our Willie Horton moment here in Cook County.</p><p>Horton was a Massachusetts felon let out of prison on a weekend furlough in 1986. He did not come back and committed violent crimes that haunted Governor Michael Dukakis in his presidential campaign. Cook County may not have anyone like Horton on its hands. But within four months of the ordinance&rsquo;s approval, news outlets had seized on someone else.</p><p>TV REPORTER: . . . when it was revealed that this man, Saúl Chávez, an alleged hit-and-run driver, had bonded out . . .</p><p>Saúl Chávez &mdash; that&rsquo;s the pronunciation &mdash; was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. ICE slapped a detainer on him but the ordinance required the jail to disregard it. When he posted bond, the jail let him out. Then Chávez missed his court dates and disappeared.</p><p>DART: . . . Thank you very much, Commissioner. Thank you for having me here. . . .</p><p>At a February hearing, Sheriff Tom Dart told county commissioners about other inmates he&rsquo;d freed.</p><p>DART: Since September 7, the jail has released 346 individuals &mdash; who had detainers on them &mdash; that prior to September 7 would have been detained on the hold.</p><p>Dart said 11 of those 346 had committed new offenses. ICE, meanwhile, pointed to the Chávez case and, like Dart, claimed the ordinance undermined public safety in the county. Last month U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified at a Senate hearing.</p><p>NAPOLITANO: Cook County&rsquo;s ordinance is terribly misguided and is a public-safety issue. We&rsquo;re evaluating a lot of options . . .</p><p>All this talk about public safety had me scratching my head. Just how dangerous are these people? Are they more dangerous than former jail inmates that ICE has not named on detainers? I looked for studies comparing the two groups. I checked with policy experts and criminologists . . . the sheriff&rsquo;s office, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, ICE, the U.S. Department of Justice . . .</p><p>BECK: I&rsquo;m not aware that any research has been conducted on this.</p><p>This is Allen Beck. He&rsquo;s a top DOJ statistician. I show him the figures Sheriff Dart brought to that hearing. Some simple math shows that about 3 percent of the inmates the jail freed in disregard of immigration detainers had committed new offenses.<a href="#1"><sup>[1]</sup></a></p><p>BECK: That&rsquo;s correct.</p><p>The sheriff&rsquo;s office told me it couldn&rsquo;t come up with the rearrest rate for all the other inmates the jail released during those five months.<sup><a href="#2">[2]</a></sup> The office did provide numbers for Cook County defendants on electronic monitoring.<sup><a href="#3">[3]</a></sup> And I checked into a Loyola University study about felons discharged from Illinois probation.<a href="#4"><sup>[4]</sup></a> The rearrest rate for both groups is about the same as for the detainer group.</p><p>BECK: Right.</p><p>Beck tells me about something else.</p><p>BECK: You know, we have tracked felony defendants in large state courts for some time. We have statistics related to Cook County. We certainly have been able to determine a substantial failure rate.</p><p>Beck shows me what he means by failure. In the DOJ&rsquo;s most recent look at Cook County felony defendants, about 25 percent of those who got out of jail with charges pending committed new crimes before their case was over.<sup><a href="#5">[5]</a></sup></p><p>MITCHELL: Mr. Beck, given the evidence available, what can we say about the former inmates wanted by ICE?</p><p>BECK: Well, there clearly isn&rsquo;t any data here to suggest that this group had a higher rate of failure &mdash; that is, of a re-arrest &mdash; than other groups that the Cook County sheriff may be dealing with. In fact, I think the evidence would suggest that these rates are lower.</p><p>But here&rsquo;s another question about Cook County&rsquo;s policy of disregarding immigration detainers: Are the inmates who bond out more likely to skip their court dates and go missing, like Saúl Chávez did? In the county&rsquo;s court records, you can see a defendant has failed to appear when the judge revokes bail and orders arrest. The arrest order&rsquo;s known as a bond-forfeiture warrant.</p><p>MITCHELL: So, Mr. Beck, of the inmates our jail released despite immigration detainers, we pulled court records on all but one of those who were charged with a felony and who got out by posting bond.<a href="#6"><sup>[6]</sup></a></p><p>BECK: . . . couldn&rsquo;t find one.</p><p>MITCHELL: Right.</p><p>BECK: Right.</p><p>MITCHELL: And of those, about 12 percent were named on bond-forfeiture warrants during the five months.</p><p>BECK: About 12 percent.</p><p>For perspective, I rounded up some WBEZ volunteers to help check this figure against other felony defendants freed on bond over the five months. We came up with a representative sample.<a href="#7"><sup>[7]</sup></a> Judges ordered bond-forfeiture warrants for about 14 percent of our sample during the period. Then I got some figures from the sheriff and the court clerk.<a href="#8"><sup>[8]</sup></a> They show roughly how many bond-forfeiture warrants named any felony defendant who got out on bail during those five months.</p><p>BECK: So basically what you&rsquo;re saying is that about 15 percent &mdash; what is that, one in six?</p><p>MITCHELL: Yeah, very close to the rate of the inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. Mr. Beck, your study &mdash; the one by&nbsp;the U.S. Department of Justice&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;also includes figures for how many Cook County felony defendants failed to appear in court.<a href="#9"><sup>[9]</sup></a></p><p>BECK: We found 21 percent.</p><p>MITCHELL: Now, Mr. Beck, whether we&rsquo;re looking at the rearrests or the bail jumping, all our comparisons include some apples-to-oranges issues.</p><p>BECK: That&rsquo;s right but we&rsquo;re looking at numbers that certainly do not lead to a conclusion that this group released in disregard to the ICE detainers would pose a greater risk upon their release than others.</p><p>If that&rsquo;s the case, I wondered what all those officials meant when they said the Cook County ordinance undermines public safety. Sheriff Dart&rsquo;s office and the Department of Homeland Security haven&rsquo;t granted my requests to speak with them about this. An ICE spokeswoman says her agency won&rsquo;t talk about this on tape and says ICE never claimed that the former jail inmates it named on detainers were committing more crimes or jumping bail more than other former jail inmates. The lack of evidence did not stop the officials from pressing for the ordinance to be scaled back. Tim Schneider &mdash; he&rsquo;s the County Board commissioner who invoked Willie Horton &mdash; he proposed an amendment that would require compliance with the ICE detainers for inmates who appear on a federal terrorist list or face a serious felony charge. I ask Schneider whether his push has anything to do with age-old fears about immigrants threatening public safety.</p><p>MITCHELL: When you talk about Willie Horton in the context of the September ordinance and when you talk about Saúl Chávez &mdash; our research suggested he&rsquo;s not typical &mdash; are you stoking those fears?</p><p>SCHNEIDER: Absolutely not.</p><p>He goes on.</p><p>SCHNEIDER: If these people could be held pursuant to ICE detainers, then that&rsquo;s one less person that would flee justice. In the case of Saúl Chávez, he is out loose because we&rsquo;re not complying with ICE detainers.</p><p>YOUNG: No one wants to be seen as endangering public safety.</p><p>Attorney Malcolm Young directs an inmate-reentry program at Northwestern University.</p><p>YOUNG: The claim of public safety is a good one to make any time you want to advance one or another criminal-justice policy. Here I think it&rsquo;s incumbent on someone who&rsquo;s making that argument to show why it is that the release of someone who is the subject of an ICE detainer puts the community at risk or creates a risk that that person is not going to show up in court.</p><p>Otherwise, Young says, the Cook County Jail may as well keep all inmates beyond what their criminal cases require &mdash; not just those wanted by immigration authorities.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Notes</span></strong></p><p><a name="1">1. </a>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told county commissioners at a February 9 hearing that his office had freed 346 inmates in disregard of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers since September 7, when the County Board enacted &ldquo;Policy for responding to ICE detainers&rdquo; (Ordinance 11-O-73). Of the 346, according to Dart, 11 committed new offenses during the five months. That means 3.2 percent had reoffended. The flow of the releases over the five months was steady, so the individuals averaged about 75 days (half of the five months) in which they could have been arrested on new charges. That makes the per-day rearrest rate roughly 0.04 percent.</p><p><a name="2">2. </a>The sheriff&rsquo;s office says the jail released 30,549 inmates between September 7 and February 6. But the office says it could not quickly find out how many had committed new offenses during that period because that tally would require investigating the cases one-by-one.</p><p><a name="3">3. </a>The sheriff&rsquo;s office says Cook County Circuit Court judges ordered 2,700 individuals into the sheriff&rsquo;s electronic-monitoring program between September 7 and February 6. Of those, according to the sheriff&rsquo;s office, 53 were arrested for a new crime while in the program during that period. That means about 2.0 percent had committed a new crime &mdash; close to the 3.2 percent for the inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. Among shortcomings with this comparison is that the electronic-monitoring group did not include individuals released from jail after a not-guilty ruling, individuals who had served their sentences, individuals for whom all charges were dismissed and so on.</p><p><a name="4">4. </a>Loyola University Chicago <a href="http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=248832">researchers studied 1,578 felons</a> discharged in November 2000 from Illinois probation. Within two months of their discharge, 3 percent had been rearrested for a new crime, according David Olson, an author of the study. That&rsquo;s about 0.05 percent per day &mdash; close to the 0.04 percent rate for the inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. Shortcomings with this comparison include penal and policing changes since the probation discharges, the presence of 740 non-Cook County individuals in the probation group, and that group&rsquo;s lack of misdemeanants, pretrial defendants, individuals whose charges were dropped, individuals found not guilty, individuals who completed sentences other than probation and so on.</p><p><a name="5">5. </a>The most recent U.S. Department of Justice <a href="http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/fdluc06.pdf">study that covers rearrests</a> of former Cook County Jail inmates looks at 716 defendants who were charged in May 2006 with a felony and freed from the jail before trial. About 25 percent were rearrested again in Illinois on a new charge before their case&rsquo;s disposition. Assuming the median time between their first arrest and their adjudication was 92 days, the per-day rearrest rate was roughly 0.27 percent &mdash; much higher than the 0.04 percent rate for the inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. A shortcoming with this comparison is the DOJ study&rsquo;s lack of misdemeanants and of individuals released because their sentence was served or their charges were dropped. Another shortcoming is that the median time, 92 days, refers to all counties in the DOJ study. The figure for Cook County alone was not available.</p><p><a name="6">6. </a>The sheriff&rsquo;s office provided a listing of individuals the jail released between September 7 and February 6 in disregard of ICE detainers. WBEZ focused on flight risk by examining a subset &mdash; the 133 felony defendants who got out of jail by posting bond. Court records on one of those defendants could not be found, reducing the number to 132. Judges named 16 of the 132, or 12.1 percent, on bond-forfeiture warrants (BFWs) during that five-month period, according to a WBEZ review of the records. The flow of the releases over the period was steady, so the individuals averaged about 75 days (half of the five months) in which they could have been named on a BFW. That makes the per-day rate roughly 0.16 percent. But there&rsquo;s a caveat: It&rsquo;s possible that some of the 16 defendants who failed to appear in court were missing because ICE had detained or deported them. A January 4 letter from ICE Director John Morton says his agency had arrested 15 individuals that the jail had released since September 7 in disregard of ICE detainers. We asked ICE to identify the 15 but the agency pointed to a privacy policy and declined. We also asked ICE whether it notifies the Cook County Circuit Court after taking into custody someone with a pending criminal case in that court, whose judges order the BFWs. ICE didn&rsquo;t answer that question but said it informs local law-enforcement agencies and the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office.</p><p><a name="7">7. </a>WBEZ generated a 133-member sample of felony defendants freed on bond between September 7 and February 6. Of those, 18, or 13.5 percent, were named on a BFW during that period, according to a WBEZ review of their court records. That rate is close to the 12.1 percent for inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. A shortcoming of this comparison concerns the degree to which the sample is representative. Randomness was impossible due to limits on public access to records kept by the sheriff and the Clerk of the Circuit Court and due to a lack of data integration between the two offices. An example of the shortcoming is that WBEZ had to identify the felony cases by finding clerk-assigned case numbers with digits showing the case&rsquo;s transfer to the court system&rsquo;s criminal division, which handles felonies only. But some felony cases never reach that division and, thus, are never assigned a case number with those digits.</p><p><a name="8">8. </a>Figures from the sheriff&rsquo;s office suggest that roughly 8,000 felony defendants got out of jail between September 7 and February 6 by posting bond. Figures from the clerk&rsquo;s office suggest that judges ordered 1,247 BFWs in felony cases during that period. The BFWs cover roughly 15.6 percent of the defendants, assuming just one BFW per defendant. The rate is higher than the 12.1 percent for inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. A shortcoming with this comparison is that the &ldquo;roughly 8,000&rdquo; figure refers to a 7,785-9,089 range provided by the sheriff&rsquo;s office, which says it can&rsquo;t quickly determine the felony/misdemeanor status of 1,304 cases. Another shortcoming is that the clerk&rsquo;s office does not track when defendants were released from jail. The 1,247 figure, therefore, pertains to the five-month period but not the 8,000 defendants per se.</p><p><a name="9">9. </a>In the DOJ study, judges named 21 percent of the defendants on a warrant for failure to appear in court. Given the median 92 days from arrest to adjudication, 0.23 percent per day got such a warrant. That rate is higher than the 0.16 percent for inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. A shortcoming with this comparison is that the detainer group includes just those who posted bond. The DOJ group includes additional pretrial-defendant types, such as those released on personal recognizance. Another shortcoming is that the median time, 92 days, refers to all counties in the DOJ study. The figure for Cook County alone was not available.</p><p><em>Research assistance from Brian Mitchell, Christopher Newman, Joan Rothenberg and Sauming Seto. Editing by Shawn Allee.</em></p></p> Wed, 16 May 2012 11:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-detainers-public-safety-issue-99190 Preckwinkle and Dart reviewing jail phone contract http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/preckwinkle-and-dart-reviewing-jail-phone-contract-97812 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/tom dart_AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Sheriff Tom Dart say they're reviewing a controversial phone contract at the jail that charges inmates inflated phone rates. On the high end, calls can cost $15 for 15 minutes. The cheap calls are about $7, though the county could immediately cut that price in half.</p><p>The county's contract with the phone company, Securus, requires the company to pay the county 57.5 percent of the revenue from the calls. It equals about $4 million a year, but that money comes from the largely poor families of inmates, many of whom can't even afford to post bond to get their loved one out of jail while awaiting trial.<br><br>Through spokesmen, Preckwinkle and Dart have both been blaming each other for the contract. Those spokesmen say the two elected officials are reviewing the contract, though they say it would be premature to comment further.<br><br>Both Preckwinkle and Dart have refused WBEZ's repeated requests over the last several weeks to personally discuss the issue.</p></p> Mon, 02 Apr 2012 09:26:29 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/preckwinkle-and-dart-reviewing-jail-phone-contract-97812 Sheriff decries immigration detainer ordinance http://www.wbez.org/story/sheriff-decries-immigration-detainer-ordinance-96260 <p><p><img alt="The Cook County Board is mulling proposed changes to the measure. (WBEZ/File)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-09/CountyBoardscaled.JPG" style="margin: 6px 18px 5px 12px; float: right; width: 349px; height: 244px;" title="The Cook County Board is mulling proposed amendments to a measure that frees some jail inmates wanted by ICE. (WBEZ/File)">Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says he wants changes to an ordinance that frees some jail inmates wanted by immigration authorities. But the law’s supporters say they still have the votes to keep it intact.</p><p>The ordinance, approved last September, prohibits the sheriff from complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers. Those are requests that the county hold specified inmates up to two business days longer than their criminal cases require. The detainers gave ICE extra time to pick up the inmates for possible deportation.</p><p>The ordinance has come under fire as news outlets have focused on a convicted felon who completed his probation before going to jail on charges of killing a man in a Northwest Side hit-and-run incident last year. ICE named the inmate on a detainer. After the ordinance passed, he posted bond, walked free and went missing.</p><p>On Thursday, a County Board committee held a four-hour hearing on proposals to honor the detainers for inmates who are potentially dangerous. At the hearing, Dart said the jail had released 346 inmates named on ICE detainers since the ordinance passed. He said 11 of those ended up arrested again on a variety of charges.</p><p>Dart also voiced support for one of those proposals, an amendment introduced last month by Timothy Schneider (R-Bartlett) that would require compliance with the detainers for inmates who appeared on a federal terrorist list or who faced various felony charges. Dart said Schneider’s proposal would target inmates who “have shown that they’re a danger.” Dart criticized another proposal, an amendment filed by Peter Silvestri (R-Elmwood Park) and John Daley (D-Chicago), that would give the sheriff discretion to honor detainers.</p><p>Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston), who chairs the committee, told WBEZ he opposes both amendments and said neither has enough support to pass. But Suffredin, who voted for the ordinance, said he is open to “cleaning it up to give the sheriff clearer discretion” on whether to honor detainers. Suffredin said any committee votes on amending the ordinance would be next month.</p><p>County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, interviewed by WBEZ during the hearing, pointed out that many citizens get out of jail and cause trouble, too.</p><p>“People who are accused of very serious crimes are given bail every day because a judge makes a determination that they’re not a flight risk and they’re not a danger to our community,” she said. “So if you have a concern about people who are accused of serious crimes being released back into our community, it’s got to be broader concern than the two or three percent of them who are undocumented.”</p><p>Preckwinkle talked up a study that’s looking for ways to improve the bond system. The county’s five-member Judicial Advisory Council is carrying out the study and planning to make recommendations within six months.</p><p>The ordinance, sponsored by Commissioner Jesús García (D-Chicago), prohibits the jail from honoring the detainers unless the federal government agrees in advance to pay for the extended confinement — something ICE says it doesn’t do. The law’s supporters say the detainers eroded community trust in local police and violated inmates’ due-process rights. A federal court ruling in Indiana last summer called compliance with the detainers “voluntary.”</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/sheriff-decries-immigration-detainer-ordinance-96260 Commissioners take aim at immigration ordinance http://www.wbez.org/story/commissioners-take-aim-county-immigration-law-95607 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-18/Schneider.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-18/Schneider.JPG" style="margin: 9px 18px 5px 1px; float: left; width: 264px; height: 276px;" title="Timothy Schneider, R-Bartlett, authored one of the proposals. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">A debate about a Cook County ordinance that frees some inmates wanted by immigration authorities could get hotter. At its meeting Wednesday, the County Board agreed to consider two proposed amendments that would scale back the ordinance. Commissioners with opposing views of the measure also vowed to press the county’s top law-enforcement officials to testify about it at an unscheduled hearing.</p><p>The ordinance effectively bars compliance with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers, which are requests that the county’s jail hold specified inmates up to two business days after they post bond or complete their criminal cases.</p><p>One of the proposed amendments, introduced Wednesday by Timothy Schneider (R-Bartlett), seems to require compliance with the detainers for inmates listed on the federal Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment and for inmates charged with — though not necessarily convicted of — various felonies. Those felonies include certain drug offenses, crimes resulting in great bodily harm, and “forcible felonies,” which Illinois defines as involving the use or threat of physical force or violence against an individual.</p><p>“I know that my amendment will not pass,” Schneider told commissioners during their meeting. “But maybe with some input from some of the stakeholders, something will come out of this and we will pass a common-sense measure that creates greater justice for victims of crimes and also to improve public safety for the residents of Cook County.”</p><p>The other proposed amendment, filed by Peter Silvestri (R-Elmwood Park) and John Daley (D-Chicago), would give the sheriff leeway to honor the detainers.</p><p>“The sheriff should have greater discretion on holding people that pose a threat to society,” Silvestri said before the meeting. “The sheriff, as the chief law enforcement officer of the county, should develop a procedure for determining which individuals to keep and which to release.”</p><p>That idea is not going over well with the ordinance’s author, Jesús García (D-Chicago). “It would bring back a flawed program that has not succeeded in apprehending dangerous criminals, and has instead resulted in the detention and sometimes deportation of people with minor infractions, victims of crime, and even U.S. citizens,” a statement from García’s office said. “It would give the sheriff unbridled discretion to comply with ICE detainers.”</p><p>Commissioners voted Wednesday afternoon to send both proposals to the board’s Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, chaired by Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston), who supports the ordinance.</p><p>Sheriff Tom Dart’s office did not return a call about the proposals, but he has quietly urged commissioners to require compliance with ICE detainers for inmates who meet any of several criteria. Dart listed some of the criteria in a December letter to Silvestri: “[It] is my hope that you agree that those charged with a ‘forcible felony,’ those who have a history of convictions and those on a Homeland Security Terrorist Watch List should be held on an ICE detainer rather than released immediately.”</p><p>State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office did not return a call about the proposals.</p><p>The ordinance, approved in a 10-5 vote last September, has received increasing public attention in recent weeks as news outlets have focused on a convicted felon who was charged and jailed in a fatal Logan Square hit-and-run incident last year and named on an ICE detainer. After the ordinance passed, officials say, the inmate posted bond, walked free and went missing.</p><p>A letter this month from ICE Director John Morton to County Board President Toni Preckwinkle cites that case. “This ordinance undermines public safety in Cook County and hinders ICE’s ability to enforce the nation’s immigration laws,” the letter says.</p><p>Last week Preckwinkle said the hit-and-run suspect’s release “outraged” her, but she has stuck behind the ordinance. Instead of reconsidering it, she proposed a study of the county’s bail bond system for all criminal cases — no matter whether the inmate’s name appears on an ICE detainer. On Wednesday, the board approved the proposal, under which the county’s Judicial Advisory Council will undertake the study. That five-member panel, chaired by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, would recommend ways to improve pretrial services so judges can make better-informed decisions on bond amounts, according to the proposal.</p><p>ICE took custody of 1,665 Cook County inmates in 2010 and 721 in 2011, according to Dart’s office. Morton’s letter says ICE has lodged detainers against another 268 county inmates since the ordinance’s approval but the sheriff’s office has disregarded them.</p><p>The ordinance prohibits the jail from honoring the detainers unless the federal government agrees in advance to pay for the extended confinement — something ICE says it doesn’t do. García and others who back the ordinance say the detainers violated inmates’ due-process rights and eroded community trust in local police. A federal court ruling in Indiana last summer called compliance with the detainers “voluntary.”</p><p>The ordinance has reverberated beyond Cook County. In October, California’s Santa Clara County adopted a similar measure.</p></p> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 13:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/commissioners-take-aim-county-immigration-law-95607 Preckwinkle and Dart hoping to cut costs, not safety services http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-08/preckwinkle-and-dart-hoping-cut-costs-not-safety-services-93845 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-08/Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart speaks during a press conference in Chicago, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011 AP Paul Beaty.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The proposed <a href="http://blog.cookcountyil.gov/budget/" target="_blank">2012 Cook County budget</a> would help plug a projected $315 million dollar deficit but it also reflected lots of tough decisions by <a href="http://www.cookcountygov.com/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_336_226_0_43/http%3B/www.cookcountygov.com/ccWeb.Leadership/LeadershipProfile.aspx?commiss_id=406" target="_blank">Board President Toni Preckwinkle</a>. The budget involved layoffs, new taxes and new fees; and there were quite a few proposals that could affect public safety. A task force will take a deeper look at a measure to share costs for Cook County’s policing services with unincorporated areas. Also, prison populations would go down – as many as 1,000 inmates would get out of jail over the next year. <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> asked two people intimately involved in the plans, President Preckwinkle and Cook County <a href="http://cookcountysheriff.org/" target="_blank">Sheriff Tom Dart</a>, to explain what the budgetary moves would mean for public safety.</p><p><em>Music Button: Justice, "Brainvision", from the album Audio Video Disco, (Elektra)</em></p><p><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 08 Nov 2011 14:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-08/preckwinkle-and-dart-hoping-cut-costs-not-safety-services-93845