Police and Courts | WGLT

Police and Courts

The Illinois Supreme Court is taking on another pension case, six months after justices unanimously tossed out the state's landmark pension law. Tuesday, they heard arguments as to whether a law affecting thousands of City of Chicago employees is constitutional or not. IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports from Springfield.

Police Eye Medical Marijuana Impaired Driving

Nov 16, 2015
Goodnightlondon / Creative Commons

Medical Marijuana's been available for patients with certain diseases and ailments for one week in Illinois.

A McLean County jury has convicted a man of home invasion. Prosecutors say Samuel Siatta delivered a cut to the head of a person in the victim's residence.

Siatta will be sentenced on the Class X offense at the end of January. He will be eligible for 6 to 30 years in prison.

The State's Attorney's office says home invasions are serious cases because they usually involve a person entering or remaining in someone else's residence and threatening or injuring them with a weapon.

The Director of the McLean County Health Department is trying to reassure County Board members that funding for drug court will not be jeopardized next budget year. Last week the department agreed to fund drug court at the same level as last year. Now the health board has approved spending less direct money than was talked about earlier. Health Department Director Walt Howe says the difference is that they want service provider Chestnut Health Systems to try billing Medicaid for the service first and then asking the county for payment.

A McLean County Circuit Judge has sentenced a Bloomington man to 14 years in prison on a child pornography conviction. 31-year old David Mariani of Chatsford Court had earlier pleaded guilty to distributing images. Police say they found more than 2,000 images of young children on Mariani's computer as part of a statewide crackdown on child porn by law enforcement and the Attorney General's office. Numerous other charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

How do you get a 17-year-old to confess to a crime he didn’t commit? Turns out it’s not that hard.

Judge Rules Against Amanda Ware

Nov 6, 2015

An Illinois judge says a mother convicted in connection with 2003 the deaths of her three children remains an abusive and neglectful parent. Friday's ruling against Amanda Hamm comes in her legal fight for her new family. Hamm was convicted of child endangerment for watching her then-boyfriend carry out a plot to drown her three children in Clinton Lake. Maurice LaGrone Junior was convicted of first-degree murder.

Burglary Victims Can Claim Stolen Goods

Nov 6, 2015

The Bloomington Police Department says victims of a series of recent burglaries are invited to claim their property. Earlier this week three men were arrested during a burglary, and police say they recovered what they believe is loot from 21 other robberies. The series of burglaries occurred between September and October. The recovered property will be at the Police Department Monday between noon at 7:30pm for victims to claim. An ID will be required.

State Supreme Court Again Rules For Philip Morris

Nov 4, 2015

The Illinois Supreme Court has once again ruled in favor of tobacco giant Philip Morris, saving the company from a 10-billion-dollar lawsuit. IPR's Brian Mackey has more on the decision.

Herrin Massacre Victims Recovered

Nov 4, 2015
unknown / Duluth Herald

A southern Illinois town where striking union coal miners clashed with replacement workers in one of the nation's deadliest labor conflicts has completed an effort to identify victims buried nearly one century ago in unmarked graves. Most of the 23 victims of the June 1922 Herrin Massacre were buried in an old pauper's field at the city cemetery. An archaeological team has worked since 2009 to pinpoint those burial locations. The Herrin City Council has voted unanimously to curtail the excavation after the research team located the remaining eight of 16 burial plots under review.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The McLean County Health Department is revising its proposed budget for next fiscal year, after some members of the county board health committee questioned the recommended removal of nearly 50% of drug court funding. County Administrator Bill Wasson says most of the drug court funds are being restored.

Insurance Companies Sue State Treasurer

Nov 3, 2015

Three insurers have sued Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs over an attempt to seek records on life insurance policies. Frerichs said Monday an audit was sought to find unpaid death benefits because returning unclaimed property is part of his office's mission. Frerichs says beneficiaries might be unaware policies exist. The information received would be checked against a federal death database. The lawsuit filed last week in Sangamon County argues the treasurer doesn't have such authority; benefits are paid if there's a claim and proof of death. The insurers are Chicago-based Kemper Corp.

Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

On January first, a new state law will go into effect that addresses police use of force. The law prohibits the use of chokeholds which have led to the deaths of suspects in some cases. GLT's Judy Valente talked with Illinois State University criminal justice professor Jason Ingram who speaks this week on police use of force.

After a legal career of more than four decades, McLean County Circuit Judge Charles Reynard says he's retiring at the end of the year. Reynard has spent 13 years as a judge, nearly 16 before that as McLean County State's Attorney, and another 14 years in private practice and as an assistant prosecutor.

He says he's not sure exactly what the next chapter will bring in his life.

Reynard says the highlight has been the last five years in family law cases serving huge needs.

A Cook County judge says he will rule Nov. 6 in a custody battle involving a central Illinois woman who's fighting a state agency's decision to take away her three children. Illinois child-welfare workers took Amanda Ware's three children last year after learning that in 2003 three of her other children drowned. Those children _ ages 6, 3, 2 _ died when the car they were in rolled into a central Illinois lake. Ware, then known as Amanda Hamm, served five years in prison for child endangerment. Her then-boyfriend Maurice LaGrone was convicted of their murders and is serving a life sentence.

A judge has found a central Illinois man fit to go to trial on charges he left his 6-month-old baby daughter to die by abandoning her in a bean field. Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis entered the finding Tuesday for Thomas Boitnott. It means he is now able to understand the charges against him and work with his attorney on his defense. The 24-year-old St. Joseph man was charged in June with attempted murder, child abduction and possession of a stolen vehicle. Authorities say he snatched the baby girl from her mother's St. Joseph apartment. She reported the baby missing.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The McLean County Health Department wants to shift money away from drug court treatment and to other programs. Next year's proposed budget reduces county funding for drug court by $100,000 at a time when the county just asked for and received mental health funding from increased sales taxes in Bloomington and Normal. Health Department Director Walt Howe says changes in federal programs can replace the money because single men are now eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act expansion of Medicaid.

More Arrests In Peoria Murder Of Teen

Oct 23, 2015

Peoria police have arrested two more suspects in the slaying of a 14-year-old Peoria boy who was shot to death during a home invasion this month. 18-year-old Kiangelo G. Marshall and a 17-year-old whose identity was not released because of his age were arrested Thursday in Fulton County by the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force. Both were charged with murder and home invasion - the same charged facing four other suspects who had previously been arrested. The other suspects have appeared in court and their bonds were each set at $2 million. Tommie T.

A 50-year old man arrested for soliciting an underage boy for sex in Decatur is a recent applicant to be McLean County Coroner. Police reports indicate Vincent C. Peters was arrested after allegedly posting an ad on Craiglist seeking a young male for sex. Peters was arrested after an on line conversation with a Decatur Police Detective posing as a fifteen year old boy led to a physical meeting.

Officers say Peters acknowledged he intended to meet the boy for sex. His current residence is in Clinton but he listed a Bloomington residence last year on his application to be Coroner.

Sandi Jackson Reports To Prison

Oct 20, 2015

The wife of former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has reported to prison on a conviction related to $750,000 in spending of his campaign money on everything from fur capes to vacations. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons says 52-year-old Sandi Jackson reported to the Federal Prison Camp at Alderson in West Virginia to begin serving her one-year sentence on a tax conviction related to the illegal spending.  

Peoria Man Arrested In Teen Murder

Oct 13, 2015

A Peoria man's been arrested and charged in the Saturday murder of a 14 year old football player.

Police Body Cameras Coming To Bloomington

Oct 12, 2015
Michael Hill / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council approved a body camera pilot program for the Bloomington Police Department. The trial will begin in January, when the funds from a $29,000 grant become available. Police Chief Brendan Heffner said body and dash cameras will come together to help the police force accurately report events.

A federal judge has granted class-action status to a lawsuit brought by deaf inmates alleging the Illinois Department of Corrections violates their civil rights. The complaint, first filed in 2011, claims deaf and partially deaf prisoners have limited access to sign language interpreters, hearing aids and other accommodations. Attorneys say the result is exclusion because the prisoners can't communicate. That means effectively missing religious services, court-mandated classes, medical visits and in some cases, emergency evacuations.

No Medical Pot For Vets With PTSD

Oct 12, 2015
Flickr user Dominic Simpson via Creative Commons

The chair of Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Advisory Board isn’t holding out a lot of hope for some conditions to be approved for treatment with the drug… even after endorsing them a second time.

Hammons Normal Marriott Subject Of EEOC Suit

Oct 6, 2015
WGLT

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the owners of the Uptown Normal Marriott. The lawsuit, filed last week, alleges black employees at the hotel were subject to racist comments, including remarks about slavery. Sheri Smith is a spokesman for the John Q. Hammons Hotel Management of Springfield, Missouri. She says the company doesn't comment on pending litigation, but did read a statement, part of which defends the company's track record.

Armed Robbery Suspect Caught

Oct 5, 2015
Bloomington Police Dept.

A suspect in an armed robbery has been arrested. Bloomington Police say a man with a gun held up the CITGO gas station at 807 South Main Street at around 9:30 Saturday night. Police also responded to a near simultaneous fight in the 700 block of South Madison Street. The suspect ran from the scene, but an officer chased him. 18 year old Terrell Hibbler of Normal is being charged with armed robbery, unlawful use of weapons, possession of a firearm with no FOID, and several drug charges in addition to resisting an officer. He was taken to the McLean County Jail.

IL AG Seeks Details From Volkswagen

Oct 1, 2015
Flickr user David Villarreal Fernandez via Creative Commons

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says her office has asked for detailed information from Volkswagen in an investigation conducted by dozens of state attorneys general.

City of Bloomington

The work of the City of Bloomington Task Force is complete. The panel designed to help aldermen come up with a workable plan to eliminate a $7 million structural deficit released its final report last week, the same day the city council approved by a wide margin a 1% increase in the sales tax rate. WGLT's Willis Kern talks with Mayor Tari Renner.

Construction at a major Interstate 74 junction has given Tazewell County a windfall: $1.2 million over three years. County Administrator Wendy Ferrill says the revenue from 4,600 tickets for speeding and using cellphones in a work zone softens the blow of the state budget standoff. Tickets for speeding went from eight per month in 2012 to 74 per month in 2013, and 129 per month last year. This year, motorists are getting fewer citations: the monthly average is nearly 100 speeding tickets. Ferrill says some of the money could go toward a new squad car for the sheriff's department.

A McLean County Jury has convicted a 19-year old Bloomington man of murder in the kicking and beating death of a homeless man. Anthony Davis-Dickson will be sentenced to up to life in prison for the death of Ronald Smith in White Oak Park on Bloomington's west side. State's Attorney Jason Chambers says the extended term is possible because of the wanton cruelty and callous nature of the crime.

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