Sunday, January 31, 2010
A criminal investigator with the Franklin County, Tennessee Sheriff's office was killed in a car wreck while on duty Friday, reports WAFF 48 News.
The two-vehicle accident occurred at about 12:45 p.m. on Highway 64 in Franklin County, the news station reports.
The investigator, Jerry Crabtree, died in the accident. He served as Sheriff in Madison County in the early 1970's.
The driver of the other vehicle was injured and taken to the hospital for observation.
The bill would let police search people on probation and parole without a warrant
Post and Courier
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Urged by law enforcement leaders, state lawmakers on Thursday moved a step closer to allowing police to search people on probation and parole without a warrant.
A subcommittee sent the bill to allow the warrantless searches to the full House Judiciary Committee and put it on track for a showdown on the chamber floor. The proposed law is aimed at protecting the public from career criminals.
Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said warrantless searches will help deter illegal activity and make sure dangerous criminals are locked up.
"We're looking for the violent, repeat offenders who are victimizing the community on a continuing basis while they are out on probation and parole," Mullen said. He traveled to the Statehouse complex to advocate for the bill on behalf of a coalition of law enforcement officials, solicitors, victims' advocates and elected officials, including Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.
Riley, along with Charleston Sens. Glenn McConnell, a Republican, and Robert Ford, a Democrat, have led the charge on pushing for a package of anti-crime tools to pass the
Riley said the warrantless search bill is a "reasonable" measure to make sure that individuals are abiding by the terms and conditions of their release from prison.
"It will make our community safer," he said.
Riley and Mullen called on advocates to continue to push for the law to be changed as the bill faces the next round of hurdles.
For the past two years, the Senate has passed the bill, only to see it hung up in the House.
The bill, which has been through a series of compromises, did make it out of subcommittee last year, but it was so late in the session that it never made it to the House floor. The bill was sent back to the subcommittee at the beginning of this year to address some additional concerns, including removing a provision that would have allowed the parolees' and probationers' homes to also be searched without a warrant. In the bill's current form, the searches would be limited to offenders' person or private vehicle.
The Senate passed the bill in February.
Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, a Charleston Democrat and former prosecutor, said he will ultimately vote for the bill, after consideration about the constitutional concerns at play. When a person is convicted of a crime, some of their rights are diminished, he said.
"That happens anytime someone is convicted, especially of serious crimes," Stavrinakis said. "This is just an extension of that."
Victoria Middleton, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in South Carolina, said the organization opposes the bill. No evidence exists to support the suggestion that warrantless searches will deter crime and if it passes, the state could be inviting constitutional challenges, according to the ACLU.
Rep. Mike Sottile, R-Isle of Palms, said he's heard from many constituents who want the Legislature to give law enforcement the ability to search parolees and probationers without a warrant.
"I'm going to support it," he said.
Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad Director Dan Tapper said Aaron I. Moore, 22, and Alfred C. Downing, 28, met with agents about 11 a.m. Thursday in a parking lot to make the exchange.
"Instead they were arrested and we seized 29 grams of heroin and $1,816," he said. "We also seized a 2000 Dodge Neon during the bust."
Moore, of 1039 N. Lockwood Ave. in Chicago, and Downing, of 5413 W. Augusta Blvd. in Chicago, were booked into the county jail on charges of manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance.
Thomas Kent, 18, of west suburban Maywood, was charged with felony aggravated battery to police, one misdemeanor count of reckless conduct and three counts of resisting/obstructing a peace officer.January 31, 2010
SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE
Seven people were arrested and several police officers were injured during an early Saturday morning street fight involving more than 100 people on the Northwest Side.
Police responded to the large disturbance near the 5600 block of West Grand Avenue around 1:45 a.m., and several officers sustained “non-life threatening injuries” while trying to break up the fight, police News Affairs Sgt. Antoinette Ursitti said.
Several of the suspects refused orders to quit fighting and verbally and physically assaulted officers responding to the disturbance, Ursitti said. Police also used tasers and pepper spray to quiet the disturbance, she said.
One teen was arrested and charged with a felony following the fight, Ursitti said.
Thomas Kent, 18, of west suburban Maywood, was charged with felony aggravated battery to police, one misdemeanor count of reckless conduct and three counts of resisting/obstructing a peace officer.
Six other people, all in their teens or early twenties, were charged with misdemeanors after the brawl.
George Jernigan, 20, of the 1800 block of N. McVicker Ave., was charged with reckless conduct, three counts of resisting/obstructing, and battery
Jeremy Reed, 18, of the 5700 block of W. Ohio St., was charged with reckless conduct and two counts of resisting/obstructing a peace officer
Aramie Kent, 20, of the 2100 block of S. 11th Place, was charged with reckless conduct and two counts of resisting/obstructing a peace officer
Keisha Lemon, 21, of the 700 block of N. Menard Ave., was charged with reckless conduct
Orlando Edwards, 21, of the 5700 block of W. Ohio St., was charged with reckless conduct, battery, and two counts of resisting/obstructing a peace officer
Dishai Reed, 20, of west suburban Bellwood was charged with reckless conduct.
Bond information for Kent was not immediately available.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
January 29, 2010
Narcotics officers arrested two alleged gang members and recovered more than $400,000, guns and drugs from their homes in the Southwest Side Marquette Park neighborhood on Wednesday.
Chicago Police Narcotics officers executed a search warrant in the 4300 block of West 77th Place about 8 p.m. where they recovered guns, drugs and money.
Manuel-Antonio Soto, 35, of the 4300 block of West 77th Place, was charged with three counts of unlawful possession of a weapon with a silencer, eight counts of failure to register firearms, no valid FOID card, possession of cannabis and possession of a controlled substance, according to a police News Affairs release.
Juan Ramon Resparado-Ramirez, 29, of the same address, was charged with possession of a controlled substance, two counts of failure to register firerarms and for not having a valid FOID card, the release said.
While conducting an investigation into the two, believed to have ties to a Chicago street gang, narcotics officers gained intelligence regarding their narcotics and weapons trade, the release said.
Another home in the 5000 block of South Ridgeway was also searched and officers recovered additional cash and more guns.
In total, officers recovered about $406,000 and multiple firearms, The guns included two AK-47s, an SKS assault rifle, a Tec-9 with a silencer, among other guns. Several hundred rounds of ammunition were confiscated, as well as more than 65 grams of cocaine with the street value of more than $8,000.
Both were expected to appear in bond court Friday, although bond information was not immediately available.
A Villa Park man was charged Friday with trafficking child pornography, which included sexually explicit images of boys and girls as young as 2 years old.
James R. Thielberg was charged in a criminal complaint filed Friday in federal court in Chicago.
The FBI began this investigation into the distribution of child porn in October of 2009.
The FBI received a search warrant on Thursday to search Thielberg's townhouse, the complaint said. The search was conducted on Friday, and took a computer from the bedroom of the townhouse. A review of the computer found numerous files of child porn and four compact discs that contained pornographic images of prepubescent children.
One of the images they found involved a sexual act being performed on a girl believed to be between 4 and 9 years old. Another involved a boy, between 2 and 5 years old, whose genital were exposed, being sexually abused, the complaint said.
Thielberg, who told investigators he lived in the townhouse with his brother, said he used peer-to-peer software to receive and distribute the images, the complaint said.
According to Thielberg, the complaint said, the seized computer was his and the only one in the home that had Internet access. He also admitted to having more than 1,000 images of child porn on the computer.Court information for Thielberg was not immediately available early Saturday.
Southwest Side resident is part of next month's Supreme Court test of Chicago's gun ban
By Colleen MastonyTribune reporter
January 31, 2010From behind the wheel of his hulking GMC Suburban, 76-year-old Otis McDonald leads a crime-themed tour of his Morgan Park neighborhood. He points to the yellow brick bungalow he says is a haven for drug dealers. Down the street is the alley where five years ago he saw a teenager pull out a gun and take aim at a passing car. Around the corner, he gestures to the weed-bitten roadside where three thugs once threatened his life.
"I know every day that I come out in the streets, the youngsters will shoot me as quick as they will a policeman," says McDonald, a trim man with a neat mustache and closely cropped gray hair. "They'll shoot a policeman as quick as they will any of their young gangbangers."
To defend himself, McDonald says, he needs a handgun. So, in April of 2008, the retired maintenance engineer agreed to serve as the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Chicago's 28-year-old handgun ban. Soon after, he walked into the Chicago Police Department and, as his attorneys had directed, applied for a .22-caliber Beretta pistol, setting the lawsuit into motion. When that case is argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 2, McDonald will become the public face of one of the most important Second Amendment cases in the nation's history.
Amid the clamor of the gun-rights debate, McDonald presents a strongly sympathetic figure: an elderly man who wants a gun to protect himself from the hoodlums preying upon his neighborhood. But the story of McDonald and his lawsuit is more complicated than its broad outlines might suggest. McDonald and three co-plaintiffs were carefully recruited by gun-rights groups attempting to shift the public perception of the Second Amendment as a white, rural Republican issue. McDonald, a Democrat and longtime hunter, jokes that he was chosen as lead plaintiff because he is African-American.
And no matter what the court — and the public — might make of his story or his case, legal experts say McDonald is poised to become an enduring symbol.
"Regardless of how this case goes, Mr. McDonald's name is set in legal history, at the same level as Roe v. Wade and Plessy v. Ferguson," said Nicholas Johnson, a law professor at Fordham University. "Schoolkids are going to recognize that in this case, something dramatic happened."
Just 19 months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Washington D.C., handgun ban in a landmark ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own a firearm for self-defense. That decision, in District of Columbia v. Heller, was a result of years of work by libertarian advocates who in 2001 had spotted an intriguing 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that they believed opened a crack in decades of legal precedent.
Since the early 1900s, federal courts and most state courts had agreed that the Second Amendment protected only a collective right to bear arms, which, at the time the Constitution was framed, was considered integral to maintaining militias. But the 5th Circuit decision in United States v. Emerson bucked that precedent, ruling that the amendment protected an individual right: to possess a gun in the home for self-defense, for example. As the libertarian advocates had hoped, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed in the Heller case, handing down a historic decision that energized the gun-rights movement. But because Washington, D.C., is a federal district, the decision did not apply to states and other cities.
Story Continues HERE -->> Chicago Tribune
Friday, January 29, 2010
Former part-time Melrose Park police officer Michael Wynn told a federal judge Jan. 27 he was a victim of the system of lies created by his superior officers.
“I'm not a thief,” he said when the judge asked for his statement during his sentencing hearing.
“This case is far beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said. “I didn't stand a chance here. My name was brought up five to six time here (in court).”
Wynn, 56, who was found guilty last year of three counts of mail fraud, was sentenced to one year and a day in prison. He was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine.
Wynn claimed there was ample opportunity for federal investigators to talk to him during their investigation and get his side of the story, but he was not approached. He said he was dragged into the mix by others who have been indicted and testified against him.
But U.S. Judge Joan Gottschall said the jury had spoken and this was time for sentencing.
“The citizens of the community need some redress too,” she said.
Federal prosecutors accused Wynn of accepting two paychecks for working one job in the village. While providing security for Lincoln Tech in Melrose Park as an employee of ex-Melrose Park Police Chief Vito Scavo's security firm, Wynn was also getting his part-time police officer pay from the village.
“From 2002 to 2005, every time he collected a paycheck he was stealing from Melrose Park,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Drury during the sentencing hearing.
Federal prosecutors wanted him to serve between 18 and 24 months in prison and pay back over $100,000 in restitution to the village for hours he did not work.
Prior to the sentencing, Wynn's attorney, Matt McQuaid, tried to play down his client's role in what was going on in the Melrose Park Police Department.
“He has no criminal history up to today,” he said. “He has worked for a living although he took money he didn't earn.”
“Wynn is an ordinary guy,” he said. “He was not sitting at home sitting on a couch collecting a paycheck. He went out, put his foot on the pavement and got a job.”
Wynn currently works as a commercial driver for Pep Boys.
“Things got out of hand in Melrose Park,” McQuaid said. “He (Wynn) didn't have the finger on the pulse of it. He's an ordinary man and things got out of control.”
Wynn must surrender himself to authorities to serve his sentence beginning March 30.
Celso Arredondo, 46, of Maywood was charged with failure to reduce speed/driving too fast for conditions and for violating Scott's Law, which requires drivers to move over for emergency vehicles, according to a Cook County Sheriff's office release.
The incident happened on Jan. 20 on Interstate 55, just outside Normal, as the two deputies were en route to Logan Correctional Center, about 40 miles away, the release said.
Deputy Eric Withers and his passenger, Deputy George Romero, were traveling south on I-55 when they hit a patch of black ice near the 152-mile marker and the squad car went off the roadway and into the median, the release said.
A short time later, a tow truck arrived to pull them from the median. The deputies got back into their car and were parked on the side of the road with emergency lights flashing when their vehicle was struck.
Arredondo was southbound on I-55 when the officers saw him speeding toward them, the release stated. He approached the squad car from the lane closest to the median and smashed into the rear of the car, before also swiping the passenger side.
Withers and Romero were taken to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the release. Neither had been cleared to return to work as of Friday.
Arredondo, who has a history of traffic violations, was charged in McLean County Circuit Court. He faces up to $10,000 in fines and revocation of his driver's license for up to two years, the release said.
Scott's Law, enacted in 2002, increases penalties against drivers who fail to move over for emergency vehicles, the release said. It is named in memory of Chicago Fire Dept. Lt. Scott Gillen, who was struck and killed by an intoxicated driver while responding to an accident on I-94 in 2000.
— STM reports
River Forest police had three men in custody Friday morning following an armed robbery and car chase through five western suburbs on Thursday night.
Charges had not been approved against the men as of 11:15 a.m. Friday morning, but a representative from the Cook County States Attorney's office had been to the River Forest police station, Deputy Police Chief Gregory Weiss said.
The armed robbery, in which $30-$40 was stolen, occurred Thursday at 10:30 p.m. at the 7-Eleven store, 1140 N. Harlem Ave., Weiss said.
“Two men entered the 7-Eleven store, one armed with a handgun,” Weiss said. “Both demanded money while a third waited outside in a getaway car.”
An off-duty Oak Park police officer driving by the store saw the robbery in progress, Weiss said, and alerted police. When the offenders left the store, the officer attempted to confront them, but they got into the waiting sport utility vehicle and drove off.
Police chased the vehicle through Oak Park, River Forest, Berwyn, Forest Park and North Riverside, Weiss said. The car pulled over on its own at Cermak Road and Harlem.
In all, the three and a half mile chase lasted about seven minutes, Weiss said.
“Nobody was hurt and the offenders were taken into custody without incident,” Weiss said. “A gun was eventually recovered by detectives.”
Police recovered $500 at the time of the arrest, Weiss said, but only $30 to $40 of that came from the River Forest robbery. The store was on shift change, Weiss said, and there wasn't much cash in the register.
Police suspect the remainder is proceeds from other robberies, Weiss said.
Weiss said Chicago police are also interested in the three men for what may be a similar incident in Chicago.
“I don't know if they're actually directly involved or not,” Weiss said. “That's a call Chicago (police) would have to make.”
January 29, 2010 5:00 AM
Illinois State Police trooper was nearly hit by a speeding car that clipped his vehicle during a traffic stop this morning on the Eisenhower Expressway, police said.
The driver got away.
About 2:30 a.m., the trooper pulled over a car on the eastbound Eisenhower's exit ramp to Sacramento Avenue on Chicago's West Side. He brought its two occupants into the back of his marked squad car, with its emergency lights flashing, and started talking to them, with the rear door open.
Moments later, a maroon four-door sedan sped onto the ramp, hit the squad car's open door and continued to drive away, state police said. The sedan ran a red light before continuing south onto Sacramento.
No one was hurt, but state police said the trooper was a little shaken up. The car door sustained damage, they added.
Investigators are hoping surveillance video from the squad car could help them find the speeding sedan. No one was in custody as of this morning.
Chicago police on narcotics surveillance shot and seriously wounded a man who allegedly pointed a gun at them late Thursday night in the South Side's Bronzeville neighborhood.
About 11 p.m., gang enforcement officers on narcotics surveillance in the 3800 block of South Michigan Avenue saw a man hand a gun and a bag of drugs to another person in a vehicle, police said.
The officers pulled the vehicle over a short time later in the 4500 block of South Michigan and approached on foot, announcing who they were. Police said the man then pointed his gun at the officers, prompting them to open fire.
The man, in his 30s, was in police custody at Stroger Hospital this morning in serious condition with a neck wound. He had not been charged as of this morning. Police said they confiscated a gun and some drugs.
The Independent Police Review Authority, which probes shootings involving Chicago police officers, was investigating.
I do know that the U.S. Attorney is looking for Wynn to forfeit $240,540.00 in cash and property as a result of his conviction.
If anyone has reliable info, let me know. I am on this everyday to bring you your news as quickly as possible.
Originally uploaded by Dukes Blotter
Associated Press Writer
A Phoenix-area policeman was shot and killed during a traffic stop, and two suspects were wounded in a high-speed chase that erupted in gunfire, authorities said.
Lt. Eric Shuhandler, a veteran of the Gilbert Police Department, was shot Thursday night near Mesa at about 11 p.m. and rushed to a hospital where he died, said Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Mark Marino.
The suspects' vehicle was spotted nearby minutes later and a high-speed chase began along Highway 60, with several police cars pursuing the pickup east through Phoenix-area communities.
Several shots were fired and the two suspects were hit multiple times, Marino said.
"During the pursuit, the suspects shot at officers," Marino said. "One or two (police) cars were disabled but no officers were hit."
The chase ended near Superior, about 50 miles east of central Phoenix, as officers from four police departments converged on the suspects' truck.
The two male suspects were taken into custody and hospitalized. Both were shot in the lower extremities and were in stable, non-life-threatening condition Friday morning, according to Lt. Steve Harrison of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The men's names were not released.
Marino said authorities were trying to determine what prompted the original traffic stop and why someone in the suspects' vehicle allegedly opened fire.
The violence occurred about 12 minutes into the traffic stop.
Marino said his understanding was Shuhandler was hit by one bullet.
He was the second Arizona law officer to die in the line of duty in recent weeks.
Department of Public Safety officer Chris Marano was struck and killed last month by another officer's patrol car while he was laying down spike strips to stop a vehicle during a high-speed freeway chase in Phoenix.
Harrison said Shuhandler had been with the Gilbert Police Department 16 years.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Also, if you don't have your cars registered to the police station instead of your house, change them. By law, you are allowed to register every car in your home to the station address and you can even have your drivers license registered to the station.--
The three men followed Officer Dayton Leavitt when he left work in his personal vehicle
By Dave Hughes
FORT SMITH, Ark. — Police say three people followed a Fort Smith police officer in a vehicle after his shift ended early Wednesday, and one of them shot at him.
The officer wasn't hit, according to a news release.
Jonathan Edward Olivarez, 24, and Camilio Martinez, 27, were arrested on charges of attempted capital murder and engaging in a criminal gang enterprise, and were being held without bond. Cara McKnight, 21, was charged with hindering apprehension and was being held Wednesday in lieu of $10,000 bond.
Officer Dayton Leavitt, a five-year veteran on the force, left work in his personal vehicle about 3:45 a.m. Wednesday. At the intersection of Old Greenwood Road and Phoenix Avenue, he noticed a vehicle with three people following his car, a news release said.
Police said Olivarez was driving. The three continued to follow Leavitt for several miles. Leavitt turned onto Moody Road on the city's east side and pulled into a nearby driveway, then turned his vehicle around, attempting to see the license plate of the trailing vehicle.
The car Leavitt was following turned around and headed west on Moody Road, and Leavitt followed. Then the car turned south on Painter Lane and stopped, the release said. As Leavitt approached in his vehicle, the passenger window came down and three shots were fired from a .357-caliber revolver. One of the shots went through the windshield and out the back window of Leavitt's car.
Police believe Martinez fired the shots, the release said.
The three fled and Leavitt followed, calling a dispatcher on his cell phone. Officers in marked patrol cars stopped the car at Massard and Louisville roads and arrested the three.
Olivarez also was being held on charges of delivery of methamphetamine and two counts of contempt for failure to pay fines, according to jail records.
Martinez also was being held on failure to answer a summons, jail records stated.
Lowell Sun (Massachusetts)
LOWELL -- Picket lines and awards ceremonies are a messy mix.
With the Lowell Patrolman's Association, the union that represents police officers, set to picket and even boycott the Police Department's annual awards ceremony late yesterday afternoon at Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Police Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee postponed the event.
The decision, which Lavallee made midmorning yesterday after meeting with his command staff, triggered a fair amount of scrambling as about 40 officers, detectives and civilians had to be informed of the decision. Planning for the event had been under way for weeks, and programs had been printed, ready for distribution.
"This was not capitulation," Lavallee said. "I contemplated the issue throughout the weekend and in the end decided it wouldn't be an event people would enjoy, considering the circumstances."
City Manager Bernie Lynch said Lavallee made the right call.
"The focus of the evening should be on those winning awards and the recognition they deserve," Lynch said. "This would have taken away from the recognition."
Capt. Kevin Sullivan was scheduled to be the master of ceremonies. Many sworn officers, civilian employees and private citizens were to be recognized for their service. The awards to be presented include years of service, Medal of Valor, Lifesaving Award and the Citizens Service Award.
Lowell High School Headmaster William Samaras was to receive the department's Lifetime Achievement Award.
"I'm sorry that the event has been postponed, but I more than understand," Samaras said. "But people certainly wouldn't feel comfortable crossing a picket line."
The union is upset by a proposal to track police cruisers using global positioning systems and a contract stalemate.
In an e-mail sent by Dan Kennedy, association president, to Lavallee, Lynch, Superior Officers Union President Barry Golner and Theresa Cooper, union steward for Local 1705, the city's largest clerical union, Kennedy said the association's executive board voted to picket and boycott the awards banquet after meeting over the weekend.
A copy of the e-mail was acquired by The Sun. It reads, in part: "All members of the LPA are required to participate in the informational picket unless they are scheduled to work. The chief has proclaimed his lack of trust in our members by proposing the GPS system. Along with the chief's obvious vote of no confidence in the men and women of the LPA, he has offered Officer Soben Buth as a pawn for the media with regard to the GPS Issue."
Buth's cruiser was stolen on Nov. 21 when he left the vehicle to respond to a call. Lynch said that incident is one reason global positioning units are needed.
Additionally, the LPA has been without a contract since 2007.
Kennedy is also asking that all members of other unions respect the picket line by not crossing.
Kennedy did not return a telephone message left for him at the front desk yesterday afternoon. David Pender, vice president of the association, did not return a message left for him at the high school, where he is employed as a DARE officer.
Asked if the superior officers stand in solidarity with the patrolmen, Golner declined to comment, except to say: "It's a difficult issue."
Golner referred The Sun to the union's lawyer, Gary Nolin, as well as Bryan McMahon, president of the New England Police Benevolent Association, with whom the union is affiliated. Neither could be reached for comment.
Lavallee said he "supports a fair and equitable contract" for patrolmen.
"However, that is largely out of my hands now, as it's with the city manager and the state," he added.
The dispute focuses largely on wages and is currently before the state Joint Labor Management Committee, which assists labor and management in reaching negotiated settlements to disputes that arise over the terms of collective-bargaining agreements. If the dispute persists for an unreasonably long period, the committee is empowered by state
Despite the union's opposition, Lavallee said he will push forward with the global positioning proposal, saying it's a "beneficial system."
For years, Rudy Fratto has been dubbed a reputed top Chicago mobster.
But Fratto sees its differently.
“I’m a reputed good guy,” Fratto said Wednesday, outside a federal courtroom, just moments after a judge sentenced him to prison for a year a day for tax evasion.
Indeed, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly found Fratto “has done an outstanding job of raising a family,” but said Fratto’s crime was too serious to allow him to sentence Fratto to home confinement, as Fratto wanted, rather than prison.
Fratto, 66, of Darien, had avoided paying taxes on more than $800,000 on income over seven years by having various firms, including a gaming technology company, pay him through a bank account of a defunct trucking company that Fratto controlled.
“I was living beyond my means, and I was taking care of my family,” Fratto explained.
Fratto could have been sentenced up to 18 months in prison. By being sentenced to a year and a day, rather than a year, Fratto becomes eligible for good conduct time and could serve as little as 10 months of his sentence.
Fratto’s family tearfully requested that he not be sent to prison, citing him as the family’s role model.
Right after his sentencing, outside the courtroom, tensions ran high as Fratto and his family clashed with a blogger who attended the court hearing and has written negatively about Fratto.
Irate family members had to be restrained as Fratto yelled at the blogger, “Get out of here.”
The tax evasion charge, investigated by the IRS, marks the first time Fratto’s been convicted of a crime.
Before his current problems, “I never been arrested for anything,” Fratto explained. “Not traffic. Not a DUI. Nothing.”
But he’s been a target of FBI investigators for years.
Most recently, federal investigators listed him as a top threat to Nick Calabrese, a former mob hitman who had turned into the star witness at the Family Secrets mob trial.
Fratto also allegedly attended a meeting in 2001 to approve the expansion of the video gambling territory of top mobsters James Marcello and his half-brother, Michael.
On Wednesday, Fratto tried to appear unruffled about the proceedings, but as he walked down the hall he shouted, “What a f------ joke!”
anuary 28, 2010
An officer was on patrol around 8:50 p.m. Jan. 21 when he reportedly saw Bernard Oxford, 40, looking into vehicles parked in a lot in the 0 to 100 block of Jefferson Street in Joliet.
"It was suspicious when he was bending down by the cars, so he was questioned and searched," Deputy Chief Mike Trafton said.
Inside Oxford's jacket, officers reportedly found "a large knife, a window-punch tool and several pairs of female underwear."
Oxford, of 13410 Brisbin Road in Yorkville, was arrested on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon and released on bond.
Police said Valparaiso boy, girl sent nude pictures to each other
VALPARAISO | Two Ben Franklin Middle School students who Valparaiso police said were caught using their cell phones to exchange nude pictures of each other -- a practice called sexual texting or "sexting" -- are facing criminal charges.
A 13-year-old Valparaiso girl and a 12-year-old Valparaiso boy were referred to juvenile probation on charges of possession of child pornography and child exploitation. In adult court, the charges would carry a maximum penalty of 11 years in prison, but prosecutors expect the case to be handled in the juvenile system.
"Something needs to be done, but we think dealing with them through the juvenile court system is appropriate, so as not to saddle them with (consequences) from the adult system," Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel said.
In the adult system, convicted offenders face not only prison time but also having to register as a sex offender.
The case against the Valparaiso students came to light when the girl's phone went off during class Jan. 21 and the teacher confiscated it. The teacher told police the girl asked to delete something from the phone before it was turned over to the administration, but that request was denied.
The teacher said the girl began crying, saying she would get in trouble because the boy had sent her a dirty picture.
An investigation revealed the boy sent the girl an explicit photo of himself Jan. 17 and asked her to use her cellular phone to send back a similar picture of herself, which she did, police said. Police further found out the girl showed the picture of the boy to one of her friends.
Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek said young people don't understand the ramifications of texting nude pictures or posting certain material on social networking sites like Facebook. She said a nude picture could end up being shared with half the school and could get in the hands of people who seek out child pornography.
Even though it is illegal to send or possess nude pictures of someone younger than 18, a national survey found 20 percent of teens have texted or posted online nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves.
Gensel, who belongs to the National District Attorneys Association, said the association's trade publication featured a column on sexting that highlighted Montgomery County, Ohio, Prosecutor Mathias Heck Jr.'s implementation of a "diversion program" for sexting cases.
Young people who enter the diversion program undergo education on appropriate sexual boundaries and related topics, complete community service and relinquish their cell phone for a period of time. If the program is successfully completed, the charges are dismissed or never filed.
Gensel agrees with Heck that there needs to be some "tempering" of prosecution so some foolish, consenting behavior doesn't have long-term ramifications on young people's lives. Gensel favors a system in which young people receive an explanation about how serious of a matter sexual texting is, and that there will be serious consequences if they continue doing it.
Valparaiso police Sgt. Michael Grennes said this case shows the need for parents to educate their children about what they can and can't do with their cellular phones or on their computers. He also recommends parents to follow through by monitoring their children's phone and computer use. He also said parents might want to consider whether their child really needs to own a phone.
>>Franklin Park, Northlake<<
>>Bellwood, Broadview, Hillside, Melrose Park<<
>>Elmwood Park, River Grove<<
>>Harwood Heights, Norridge<<
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
From the Chicago Sun-Times
A Cook County judge today acquitted two Chicago cops of planting drugs on a convicted felon outside his sister's home six years ago, saying that prosecutors didn't "come close" to proving their case.
Courtroom spectators, including several officers, both burst into applause and tears when Judge Dennis J. Porter cleared officer Michael Bernichio of perjury charges.
"Take it outside," Porter admonished the group.
Earlier in the afternoon, Porter acquitted Bernichio and his partner Daniel Murphy of conspiracy to obstruct justice charges.
"I just can't get overexcited about the supposed conspiracy to conceal," Porter said, shooting down prosecutors' argument that Bernichio, 43, and Murphy, 35, tried to frame Morris Wynn -- a convicted felon and self-admitted former gang member.
Bernichio and Murphy refused comment but Bernichio's brother Anthony said prosecutors "tried to hang" the Chicago Lawn District tactical officers after Wynn's conviction stemming from the July 27, 2004 arrest was reversed by the Appellate Court.
"The system worked but the system didn't work by them getting here," Anthony Bernichio said. "They didn't deserve this."
Bernichio and Murphy arrested Wynn and his friend Wayne Guy as they sat outside in the 2500 block of 64th Street, prosecutors said. The officers eventually released Guy but filled out identical reports for both men, even though only Wynn was charged for possessing 22 grams of cocaine, Assistant Cook County State's Attorneys Romano DiBenedetto and Linas Kelecius said.
Bernichio also lied in court at Wynn's 2005 trial, testifying that he and his partner had initially arrested just one man, DiBenedetto said at the opening at the officers' bench trial Friday.
However, Porter noted that Bernichio's testimony did not equate to perjury.
"Two people were not arrested. Two people were detained," Porter further clarified. "Only one person was booked. Only one person was charged."
Bernichio's attorney William Gamboney said Wynn and Guy, who also has an extensive criminal record, were not credible, adding that the filling of the two police reports was simply a "clerical error."
Gamboney continued, saying that prosecutors had wanted to protect themselves by treating the officers' case like "the Kennedy assassination."
Gamboney and Murphy's attorney Tom Needham said they were "relieved" by the acquittals.
"It's a big relief two innocent guys were exonerated," Gamboney said.
The officers had been placed on administrative leave. Their status will be revisited in light of the acquittal, Chicago Police spokesman Roderick Drew said.
From the Daily Herald
Winfield officials have received an analysis that concludes the village could save millions of dollars if it contracted with the DuPage County sheriff's office to provide police protection.
But Village President Deborah Birutis continues to insist that there's been no discussion of dismantling the Winfield Police Department.
The document, obtained by the Daily Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request, indicates Winfield could save roughly $5.5 million over a three-year period if four sheriff's deputies and two detectives were used to patrol the community and investigate crimes.
Sheriff's office representatives said they did the analysis last month at Winfield's request. A final report was given to village officials earlier this month.
"We are not advocating this," said Dan Bilodeau, a chief with the sheriff's office. "This is not something that we're pursuing. We're just responding to their requests."
E-mail records provided by the sheriff's office show Birutis met with Sheriff John Zaruba. In a Nov. 6 message to Zaruba, Birutis requested information about "programs that the village of Winfield could consider as a joint venture with the county."
For example, estimates show that Winfield could save up to $179,000 a year if it dropped DuComm and had the sheriff's office handle the village's 911 calls and emergency dispatching.
Birutis said she and Zaruba never discussed disbanding the Winfield Police Department and having the sheriff's office take over policing the village. "We had a preliminary meeting with a preliminary discussion on where we can save money with programs," she said.
When Winfield's 13 patrol officers learned of the meeting between Birutis and Zaruba, they started worrying their jobs were in jeopardy, union officials said.
Those fears were further fueled when it was discovered that the sheriff's office reviewed several scenarios for providing police protection in Winfield.
Even though Winfield officials say they never asked for the analysis, Bilodeau said, "We wouldn't have just added that in."
Earlier this month, Winfield officials were presented with the proposal for the four deputies and two detectives. If approved, the plan would cost Winfield about $1 million but save the village about $2.1 million the first year.
On Tuesday, village officials questioned the viability of that plan.
"I don't think that proposal addresses the coverage that we have an expectation for," Village Manager Curt Barrett said.
Birutis said she only briefly saw the proposal before assigning Police Chief Frank Bellisario to review it. She said it will be up to Bellisario to decide if the information should be presented next month to the village's finance committee as part of the budget process.
Bellisario did not return several phone calls over several days.
In the meantime, Barrett said police union representatives have been asked to suggest cost-saving measures the village could pursue.
Winfield officials are taking a close look at the overall budget, in part because the village must raise $3.3 million to resurface its most deteriorated streets. The village had about $100,000 for road repairs this year, officials said.
"I don't think that our residents would want a disbanding of our police department," Birutis said. "But it does not remove the fact that we need to consider all options."
From the Forest Park Review
A settlement has been reached between a former Forest Park village council member who sued the town and the municipal defendants she accused of spying on her e-mail. Terms of the agreement, disclosed Jan. 19 in a brief memo filed with the U.S. District Court, were not made public and a phone call to the plaintiff's attorney was not returned.
Former council member Terry Steinbach had filed her original complaint in August 2006. She accused Mayor Anthony Calderone and a police officer of hacking into her e-mail account that was maintained by the village. The mayor was later dismissed from the case because the statute of limitations had expired, and shortly thereafter settlement talks with the police officer and the village began.
Evidence verified that the mayor's laptop was used to access e-mails of several political rivals, including Steinbach, but the viewing was extremely brief and appeared limited to a "test e-mail." The mayor has steadfastly denied ever accessing the former commissioner's account.
From the Pioneer Press
After two years of negotiations, Harwood Heights trustees approved a collective bargaining agreement with the Illinois Council of Police, the union for the police department.
The agreement was approved during the Jan. 14 regular board meeting.
Trustee Demetrios Mougolias said in the end, something was worked out that was fair for everyone.
Mougolias said the village has agreed to a raise "but this is the first time in the history of the village that our officers will take financial interest in their insurance."
Mougolias said with the contract, officers are paying 8 percent to the premium, which includes employees and their families, and paying the first $2,500 of their deductible.
"I believe it's a good contract," Mougolias said. "I believe it's fair for everyone and the police have ratified this contract, so I think that they believe it's fair also."
Trustee Therese Schuepfer reiterated the 8 percent premium contribution for health care benefits and mentioned a $21.40 monthly contribution for dental and life insurance.
Schuepfer's amended motion about the employee's payment of 8 percent insurance premium and the monthly dental and life insurance contribution was approved by all six trustees.
From the Pioneer Press
In an attempt to stem a growing budget gap, Elmhurst officials have rolled out up to $1.4 million in staffing cuts and reductions.
In total, 13 full time positions are now vacant, three of which were the result of employee layoffs executed over the past two months. Twenty part-time positions also are unfilled, and 15 seasonal staff were not hired in 2009.
"It's a revenue problem. It's not a spending problem," said City Manager Tom Borchert.
Despite officials anticipating late last year the need for about $2 million in cuts, Borchert said city revenues continue to underperform. Sales tax revenues in particular are continuing to come in $100,000 to $200,000 below expectations each month.
He said this may fuel the need for additional cuts, which the city is constantly evaluating while preparing next year's budget that will be passed in April.
Positions remain vacant in every city department, including the police and fire departments. Employees were also offered the opportunity to take voluntary furlough days. Nonunion staff wage increases were throttled 2 percent in May, and the city negotiated with several unions to accomplish additional cost savings.
Borchert said more aggressive measures may have to be taken, but he remains positive that any additional staffing cuts will not affect core and critical services, such as police and fire.
"Certainly a police officer is a critical service," he said. "We are looking at how to maintain those critical services."
With the economic condition continuing to change, Borchert said it is difficult to make adjustments now in anticipation of the future. For example, in May when the city was looking at making adjustments to nonunion employee salaries, cutting increases by 2 percent was sufficient and in line with the expectations of union employees.
"At that time, the economy wasn't as dire as it is," Borchert said.
Now, with revenues continuing to decline, the city may have to take more drastic measures and eliminate or again reduce wage increases. Mayor Pete DiCianni said they may also have to reevaluate union contracts.
The city also has to walk a delicate line between staff cuts and scaling back on capital improvements. Earlier this month Borchert outlined what projects may also have to be postponed until additional revenues become available, such as building a new Elmhurst Historical Museum.
However, with economic development a major component of a healthy financial outlook, DiCianni said it is important to not cut projects that will bring in future profits, such as the First Street parking deck.
"Again, sometimes it takes a little money to make a little money," he said.
DiCianni has kick-started a major "shop local" campaign, and the city is looking into implementing a 1-cent to 1.5-cent increase in the motor fuel tax. A $4 million property tax increase also was passed in December.
Borchert said the city will have a better idea in March of future sacrifices that will have to be made, but it has been very proactive in making adjustments as economic changes occur.
"As the target has moved, we have moved," DiCianni said.
S.C. 'hero' deputy shot in the face Charleston County Deputy Jeffrey DeGrow was calm, collected on radio tape despite wounds
Post and CourierCHARLESTON, S.C. — As well-wishers from police departments across the region filled her father's hospital room Friday afternoon, Sydney DeGrow, 9, slipped quietly across the hall and sat down with a magenta sparkle pen and a notebook.
The day before, a burglary suspect had shot her dad, Charleston County Deputy Jeffrey DeGrow, in the head and arm. One bullet went through part of his eye and was still lodged in his skull.
Sydney has blond hair and freckles on her nose. She loves to write, and in a corner of a waiting room, she sat at a table and let the words tumble out.
"Have you ever heard of a hero? Like Superman or batman? Well my dad is a hero! Let me tell you what happened," she wrote.
Her story would be a simple one.
"The first reason why he is a hero," she scribbled, "is because he got shot five times and he is so brave that he did not give up because I know he loves us so much. He is so brave! And I'm also happy that God was looking over him and because God is also a hero! I am just so happy that he is still alive so I can spend time with him. I will never forget him! I will always be by his side! Nothing will get in between me and my dad."
As she wrote, Sydney's grandfather, Dave DeGrow, stood nearby.
Dave is from Michigan. His son grew up there, too, but didn't like the cold. "He said, 'If I'm going to be a cop, I don't want to investigate traffic accidents in 20-below wind chill factor."
About a decade ago, his son began looking for law enforcement work in Charleston, eventually landing a job with the Mount Pleasant Police Department and then taking a job with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office two years later. In addition to a daughter, DeGrow also has a 14-year-old son.
Anyone with family in law enforcement worries about getting "the call," and Dave's phone rang 11:15 a.m. Thursday with the news about his son.
"You always think it will happen to someone else," he said. Then the phone rings and your knees turn to rubber. He caught the first plane he could to Charleston.
It wasn't until Friday, after doctors reconstructed DeGrow's eye and treated other wounds, that Dave heard from his son about what happened the day before.
DeGrow said he was responding to a burglary report off Grimball Road on James Island when he spotted three men. They ran away, and he chased one around a trailer. He pulled out his Taser, but a bullet hit him in the eye. He fell to the ground, and one of the suspects emptied his gun at point-blank range. "It's a miracle he's alive," Dave said.
He said his son somehow got on his radio and told a dispatcher that he'd been shot, and that he'd try to get somewhere so they could find him more quickly.
"Everybody talks about how calm and collected he was, and when they found him, he was standing by his cruiser," he said.
Dave said his son grew depressed a day after the shooting. "There was a little bit of woulda, coulda, shoulda, and he was worried about whether he would still be able to be in law enforcement, which he loves." But then the hospital room at Medical University Hospital began to fill with colleagues on the SWAT Team and from other departments. Jeffrey's pastor visited him. Sheriff Al Cannon reassured him that he'd always have a job in his department. Then his father walked in and read Sydney's letter.
"I am just so happy that he is alive!" she ended the letter. "I love my dad so much and I also love God. He is the best. As you can see I am so happy for my dad and I am thankful for God looking over him!" When Dave finished, Sydney gave her father a hug, and he held her tight.
Brandon Simmons, 21, was being held without bail on a charge of assault and battery with intent to kill in the shooting. His brother, Theodore Simmons, 20, and a cousin, Curtis Williams, 20, are charged with misprision of a felony. Meanwhile, Jeffrey was back home from the hospital Monday, and his father said he's doing well, though doctors plan to leave the bullet in his brain until the swelling goes down. Dave said his son went to church Sunday and sent word to the person who shot him that he had forgiven him.
A tape released Monday by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office describes how Deputy Jeffrey DeGrow radioed for help after he was shot in the head and arm Thursday on James Island.
The tape begins with DeGrow notifying dispatchers, "County, I've got three running, I don't know if it's involved in the burglaries or not."
A moment later, DeGrow radios: "I'm hit and down. I need EMS (Emergency Medical Services) ASAP." A dispatcher then radios for backup. "Shots fired," she says. DeGrow, breathing hard, radios his location ("I'm next to a white trailer") and gives a description of the shooter: "Black male suspect, black jacket, black jeans, low cut with a goatee. I'm trying to make my way out to the road now. I need EMS ASAP."
The tape ends with DeGrow saying, "I got a head wound and an arm wound. I know that for sure. I can't see out of my right eye."
Posted: January 27th, 2010 01:48 AM GMT-05:00
By RICK ROUSOS
The Ledger (Lakeland, FL)
LAKELAND | A Lakeland police officer was accused Monday of checking license plate numbers for a woman connected to missing Lotto millionaire Abraham Shakespeare.
Polk County Sheriff's Office detectives arrested Troy McKay Young, 42, on charges of unlawful compensation, which is a felony, and misuse of confidential information, a misdemeanor.
"For a check of $200 and a plane ticket for his daughter, he gave up a 19-year career with the Lakeland Police Department," Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said Monday.
Young was booked into the Polk County Jail on Monday and was released on $5,500 bail. He did not return phone messages left by The Ledger.
Lakeland police Chief Roger Boatner said Young will remain on paid suspension until the department finishes an internal review.
Investigators say Young provided Dorice "DeeDee" Moore of Lakeland with information obtained through law enforcement data bases and that he was paid for the information.
Young admitted he had given Moore information about the identities of vehicle owners after she provided him with tag numbers, PCSO detectives say.
Moore is considered a "person of interest" in the ongoing investigation of Abraham Shakespeare's disappearance.
According to Young's arrest report, in December a detective searched Moore's cell phone, with permission, and found "Troy Young" text messages with Moore's asking Young to run license tags.
Once, Moore specifically asked, "Check if this is a cop," the arrest report said.
In that text message asking about a police car, Judd said Moore was asking specifically about a sheriff's undercover vehicle. "She was off by one digit," Judd said.
The report said Young admitted being given a plane ticket for his daughter's use.
The ticket was a Texas-to-Florida round trip, Judd said. He said Moore also gave Young a $200 check.
The ticket was to pay for Young's checking several tags and for other services. The report said Young did things for Moore such as giving her advice about legal questions and witnessing her opening a safe deposit box.
Shakespeare was reported missing by a family member in November. Investigators said his family and friends told them they hadn't seen or heard from him since April.
Shakespeare took a lump-sum payout of about $17 million after winning the lottery in 2007.
Moore has told The Ledger she helped Shakespeare disappear at his request. She said he was trying to get away from people who were constantly pestering him for money.
Young isn't the only one negatively impacted by his arrest, Judd said. "It's one more chip of wood on the stack for DeeDee Moore."
There are two emotional events that police departments have to endure, Chief Boatner said.
"Lakeland police in the last 10 days have been involved with both of them: the death of a police officer and the arrest of a police officer."
Officer Charlie Dallas died Jan. 18 in a car accident.
He said Young's actions will be debated by the police department, by people and in court.
As those conversations unfold, Boatner said, "We have 225 sworn officers who do good work every day. I hope people don't forget that."
Young, who has been with LPD since 1990, was suspended with pay Jan. 8 when Lakeland Police supervisors learned he was under investigation by the Sheriff's Department.
In nearly 20 years with the department, Young, whose salary is $57,990 per year, had never been suspended.
He had been warned or had received counseling for personnel issues on five occasions, his file shows. Three of those five times were for vehicle operation.
Young has earned 16 awards and commendations during that same time.