March 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
Sneed: Evans seeks to calm jury pool as verdict on his stewardship nears
By MICHAEL SNEED March 20, 2014 8:06PM
Updated: March 21, 2014 2:22AM
Out of Order!
Cook County Circuit Court Chief JudgeTimothy Evans is trying to stave off Judgment Day.
Sneed’s blast Wednesday of Evans’ stewardship over a sloppily run court system — which is being audited by the lllinois Supreme Court — hasn’t stopped him from continuing his successful campaign of fawning over the judges who keep re-electing him.
◆ To wit: Sneed’s criticism prompted Evans to immediately dispatch a kiss to his black-robed electorate at the Circuit Court of Cook County.
In a memo addressed to all court judges and employees, Evans stated:
“It is important for you to understand that I am proud of you and our court system and how much I appreciate your hard work and dedication to it and the litigants we serve.
“Unfortunately, overly broad, speculative assertions on the integrity and authority of the justice system continue to arise. We are not perfect, as no one in any field, profession or branch of government is perfect, but half-truths and innuendo are reckless and do more harm than good . . .
“I encourage you to continue to perform the fine work on which the public, the legal community and our sister court agencies know they can rely.”
◆ Buckshot: Evans’ leadership of a bollixed court system, which condoned a run amok probation and pre-trial department, is now under the microscope of the Illinois Supreme Court — which is this/close to releasing a critical report.
◆ Backshot: The probation department is being audited for claims it lost track of hundreds of convicts, some of whom allegedly raped or killed while on probation; and had a shoddily run pre-trial system used by judges to determine who goes or stays in jail.
◆ Upshot: Evans suddenly dismissed his acting adult probation chief, Jesus Reyes — whom he appointed in 2005 — on Monday.
◆ Shock shot: Yet, Evans, who refused to replace Reyes despite serious management complaints for years, is continuing to allow Reyes to serve as the Circuit Court’s “advisor for research and policy”!
◆ Penalty shot: A top Sneed source familiar with the court’s probation and pre-trial services division, who asked to remain anonymous, claims: “Giving Reyes this job is a joke. Reyes never initiated a policy during his time in office.
“He even refused to develop a critical incident protocol,” the source said. “We carry guns. Anything could result in a critical incident. The police had an incident protocol. We didn’t. We begged Reyes to develop one. No dice. He never responded to car incidents and shootings involving office workers,” he added.
Hair’s the deal . . .
An inadvertent photo tech slip on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times Thursday looked like Gov. Pat Quinn had a bad trip to the barber.
◆ Let’s set the record straight: Quinn’s head of hair may be white, but it’s very much there. Check out this tress trip down memory mane.
Noah’s ark . . .
There’s a Chicagoan in the cast of actor Russell Crowe’s new film, “Noah,” which is being pitched for endorsement by Pope Francis . . . a la actor Mel Gibson’s hit flick: “The Passion of the Christ.”
◆ Translation: The youngest of the four sons of the biblical Noah, a child called Japheth, is being played by Leo McHugh Carroll, who is the grandson of Special Olympics Chicago founder Jack McHugh and his late wife, Rosemary. “Leo loved having Crowe and actress Jennifer Connelly as his ‘parents’,” said a family source. “His twin, Lucas, played actor Matt Damon’s son in the film “The Informant.”
The ring thing . . .
March 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
Illinois Supreme Court: Eavesdropping law violates free speech
- CHICAGO — Illinois’ Supreme Court declared one of the nation’s toughest eavesdropping laws unconstitutional.
- ASSOCIATED PRESSIn this photo taken Feb 2, 2012, cell phones are used to record Henry Bayer, executive director of AFSCME Council 31, right, while protesting and being confronted by the Illinois Secretary of State Police. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
By Michael Tarm
The Associated Press
Posted Mar. 20, 2014 @ 10:45 am
CHICAGO — Illinois’ Supreme Court declared one of the nation’s toughest eavesdropping laws unconstitutional, saying Thursday that the law was so overly broad that it would technically make the recording of screaming fans at a football game a crime.
The ruling is the final defeat for the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, which had made it a felony for someone to record a conversation unless all parties involved agreed. The 1961 law violates free speech and due process protections, the court decided in unanimous decisions in two related cases focused on audio recordings.
State legislators will now have to draft new rules in a very different privacy environment than existed five decades ago.
“The burden is now on the legislature to craft a statute that actually serves the goal of protecting privacy — and that does so without infringing on the rights of citizens to keep public officials honest,” said Gabe Plotkin, a lawyer for Annabel Melongo, a defendant in one of the two cases.
Melongo spent nearly two years in jail after being charged under the statute for recording a Cook County court official over the phone who she believed wasn’t carrying out her duties properly.
The Illinois law had suffered earlier defeats, including in 2012 when the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a provision that barred anyone from video recording police officers doing their jobs in public. Thursday’s decisions — in People v. Melongo and People v. Clark — mean lawmakers in Springfield will have to ensure the statute complies with court findings.
“Instead of serving as a shield to protect individual privacy, the statute was written so broadly that it allowed the state to use it as a sword to prosecute citizens for monitoring and reporting on the conduct of public officials,” Plotkin said.
State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a vocal opponent of the law’s ban on recording police, said the eavesdropping law did help establish what she described as a sound principle that two parties in a clearly private conversation must both agree about recording the conversation.
“Some lawmakers may try to abandon the two-party consent rule, and I don’t support abandoning it (altogether),” the Northbrook Democrat said. “We need to have an eavesdropping law. … We have to find a balance.”
The Illinois justices took pains to say that protecting truly private discussions would be lawful, including because “the fear of having private conversations exposed to the public may have a chilling effect on private speech,” they said in their opinion in the People v. Clark.
But as written, Illinois’ law criminalizes recordings of conversations that are clearly public, the high court concluded. Under the law, it said, recording a political debate on a college quad, a vocal argument on a street corner or fans yelling at a game could be deemed a crime.
Judged in terms of the legislative purpose of protecting conversational privacy, the statute’s scope is simply too broad,” the justices wrote.
Whether someone has an expectation of privacy is often the standard nationwide for deciding if a conversation is private or not, but Illinois’ statute does not include that guideline, the justices added, suggesting that was a serious flaw.
The ubiquity of smartphones and sophisticated listening technology made it that much harder to impose the appropriate restrictions, the court conceded. But it said that didn’t justify a statute so sweeping and ill-defined as to undermine constitutional rights.
The eavesdropping law also affected the work of the media, prohibiting them from recording an interview subject over the phone without that person’s consent. The law’s demise raises questions about whether the legal obligation remains in effect.
Melongo made her recording because she said the official wouldn’t correct a mistake in the transcript of a separate case related to her; she also posted the recording online. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office appealed to the high court after Melongo’s trial judge dismissed charges against Melongo.
Neither the Cook County state’s attorney’s office nor the Illinois attorney’s general’s office, which filed the appeal in the People v. Clark case, had an immediate comment.
For more on the case: http://www.illinoiscorruption.net/common/supremecourt.html
Illinois Supreme Court
Why do judges in our family courts ignore the law?The appearance they will be out of a job as well as their brethren.
March 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
Why do judges in our family courts ignore the law?
Sir James Munby’s guidelines are being breached
6:24PM GMT 02 Nov 2013
It is a basic principle of British justice that no one should be sent to prison except in open court, so that their name can be known and why they have been jailed. But this has long been one of those basic principles that are routinely ignored in our ultra-secretive family courts.
In a parliamentary answer given by Harriet Harman in 2006, she said that some 200 people had been jailed in secret by the family courts in 2005, and that her government now wanted to open up the courts to ensure that this scandal did not continue. Last May and July, following publicity given to a case in which a woman was secretly sentenced to 12 months in prison for rescuing her father from a care home, where he was being mistreated, the new head of the Family Division of the High Court, Sir James Munby, issued guidelines reminding his fellow judges that this was against the law, as clearly restated in the Rules of the Supreme Court as long ago as 1965.
In recent years, I have come across many cases of judges continuing to break the law in this way. In one instance, a father who had already lost his two teenage sons because they were held to be “at risk of emotional abuse” from their mother, from whom he had separated, was before a judge who wanted to order the removal for adoption of his third son, aged four. When the father left the courtroom in disgust, the judge ordered his arrest for contempt.
While he was in custody, his new partner, still at home and fearful that the little boy might also be removed, panicked and took him to a secret destination. The judge summoned the father back to court to ask where they had gone. Since his partner’s flight was on the spur of the moment, the father explained, truthfully, that he had no idea. Refusing to believe him, the judge angrily sentenced him in secret to 12 months. The police tracked down the woman, who was convicted of kidnapping the boy but let off with a caution. The father was released after six months in prison, but given a penal notice forbidding him to have any further contact with his boys, all now in foster care, whom he had brought up and who loved him.
In another recent case, a couple whose son had repeatedly run away from a care home were secretly jailed for not disclosing his whereabouts. In October, months after Munby issued his guidelines, three judges in the Court of Appeal upheld their sentencing. Also last month, John Hemming MP protested that the sentencing of a woman to 28 days by another High Court judge, Mrs Justice Theis, was yet another example of “secret justice” in breach of Munby’s guidelines and the law, because, although her court had been technically “open” for the brief period of the sentencing, the case was not advertised and no one was allowed to know the woman’s name or why she was imprisoned.
It seems that Lord Justice Munby has a battle on his hands to persuade judges that it is their duty to obey the law of the land.
March 18, 2014 § Leave a comment
TO ATTORNEYS OF RECORD AND PARTIES:
The Supreme Court anticipates that opinions will be filed in the cases listed below at 9:00 A.M. on Thursday, March 20, 2014. Very limited information about the opinions can be obtained by telephone after 9:00 A.M. that day. Your copy of the opinion will be mailed to you, or it will be available in the Clerk’s Office in Springfield or on the 20th Floor, 160 N. LaSalle St. in Chicago shortly after 9:00 A.M. Opinions also are posted on the Court’s website the day of filing: http://www.illinoiscourts.gov.
MARCH 17, 2014
No. 114852 – No. 115342 – No. 115526 –
No. 115527 – No. 115581 – No. 115595 – No. 115769 – No. 115776 – No. 116311 – No. 116319 –
Carolyn Taft Grosboll
Clerk of the Supreme Court of Illinois
People State of Illinois, appellant, v. Annabel Melongo, appellee. Appeal, Circuit Court (Cook).
Spanish Court Two Condominium Association, appellant, v.
Lisa Carlson, appellee. Appeal, Appellate Court, Second District.
Home Star Bank and Financial Services, etc., et al., appellees, v. Emergency Care and Health Organization, Ltd., et al. (Michael T. Murphy, appellant). Appeal, Appellate Court, First District.
People State of Illinois, appellee, v. Javier Fernandez, appellant. Appeal, Appellate Court, First District.
People State of Illinois, appellant, v. Christopher Easley, appellee. Appeal, Appellate Court, First District.
People State of Illinois, appellant, v. Addolfo Davis, appellee. Appeal, Appellate Court, First District.
People State of Illinois, appellant, v. Derrick A. Cummings, appellee. Appeal, Appellate Court, Third District.
People State of Illinois, appellant, v. Deforest Clark, appellee. Appeal, Circuit Court (Kane).
BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, etc., appellee, v. Kim E. Mitchell, appellant. Appeal, Appellate Court, First District.
In re Marriage of Robert N. Tiballi, appellant, and Sheila J. Ilagan Tiballi, appellee. Appeal, Appellate Court, Second District.