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Illinois Couple Charged with Portage Robbery

 Posted on February 05, 2013 in Uncategorized

According to the Post Tribune, a man and woman from Harvey, Ill., were arrested after breaking into a Portage gas station in order to steal cigarettes, lighters, and 5 Hour Energy supplements.  Their crimes got more serious, however, when they allegedly rammed a squad car with a stolen van and led police in an on- and off-road car chase to Lake Station.

Around 1 a.m. Sunday morning, a clerk at the Marathon gas station in Portage, across from the gas station the couple robbed, called police when he saw a person climb over an ice cooler and through a window into Luke Shell, a gas station on the opposite side of the highway.

As the couple left the gas station in a white contractor-style van and stopped for a light, a squad car driven by a Portage officer pulled up behind them.  The officer was pursuing the van when the driver, Jerry Allen, 49, of Harvey, put the van into reverse and rammed the squad car on to an interstate ramp.

The chase continued on the interstate, with more officers getting involved, until Allen took an exit and veered off the pavement at a high speed.  Police said the van bounced violently down the hill before hitting the bank of a ditch and going airborne.  This did not stop Allen though, and he headed southwest toward the embankment of an onramp of the same interstate.  After jumping that embankment as well, the van broke down and came to a stop in a grassy area.

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Possible Solution to Juvenile Crime in IL

 Posted on February 02, 2013 in Criminal Defense

The Southern Illinoisan recently published an article arguing that there is never a time when daily news reports do not include information about crimes, arrests, and people being sentenced to prison.

The article stated that “the cover of Wednesday’s Local section, for example, included coverage about a West Frankfort woman suffering serious burns in a methamphetamine-related fire at her home, drug charges facing a Thompsonville man, car burglaries in Marion and an ATV crash leading to DUI charges against the driver.”

Even more than anecdotal evidence, there are also disheartening statistics.

In the fall of 2012, the Illinois Department of Corrections stated that there were 49,044 adults incarcerated in state penal institutions.  While not an overwhelming percentage of the population, that number far exceeds the 33,700 inmates the correctional facilities were originally designed to hold.

While Illinois police departments may be tough on crime, the hoped-for decrease in crime in general has not been delivered.  Police cannot soften their responses to violent crime; they have a moral duty to examine and carry out proactive efforts to bring an end to the root causes of crime.

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Man sentenced on gun charges

 Posted on January 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

A man from Fairfield, IL has recently been sentenced to a year in prison after he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The indictment charging Michael D. McCullough, 58, was returned by a Federal Grand Jury on May 8. The indictment charged McCullough with possessing two firearms, a Smith & Wesson .357 caliber revolver and a Freedom Arms .22 caliber revolver.

The evidence that was introduced in court to support the guilty plea and sentence revealed that the guns were found after a fire broke out in McCullough’s unoccupied residence in Fairfield on August 28, 2011.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that police were notified by fire fighters that, upon entering the residence to fight the fire in the room, they found five marijuana plants growing in an indoor grow operation in McCullough’s bathroom. After receiving the information, the Fairfield Police Department secured a search warrant for McCullough’s residence through the Wayne County State’s Attorney’s office. Shortly after receiving the warrant, the police located and seized the marijuana plants along with the two illegal firearms and multiple rounds of ammunition, taken from McCullough’s bedroom.

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22 Charged in Fraternity Pledge’s Death due to Hazing

 Posted on December 26, 2012 in Chicago News

The fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha was having a party on November 1st called “Parents Night”.  It was an unauthorized party both by the standards set by Northern Illinois University and the national chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha.  It was termed “Parents Night” because senior members of the fraternity “parent” new pledges.  Pledges move from room to room answer trivia questions and drink copious amounts of alcohol.

On the morning of November 2nd, the body of a 19-year-old boy from Palatine was found dead in a bed.  David Bogenberger’s death was ruled accidental at that time.  Further investigation into his cause of death showed that alcohol played a massive role in his death.  His blood-alcohol level was around 5 times the legal limit for driving of .08.  The excessive drinking caused his heart to suffer a cardiac arrhythmia and stop.

As of December 7th, Pi Kappa Alpha has lost its status as a student organization and more sanctions are pending.  NIU has also found that 31 members of the fraternity have violated the Student Code of Conduct.  The punishments for this kind of infraction range from a reprimand to expulsion from the University.

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Heroin Use Surges in Chicago Area

 Posted on December 05, 2012 in Chicago News

Heroin seems to be making a comeback on Chicago’s North Shore, according to the Chicago Tribune, and it’s being used by people younger than ever before. According to the Tribune, Meghan Murrin, 21, is a high school senior at New Trier High School, and died for a few minutes—but was luckily revived with adrenaline—after a heroin overdose. Several north suburban police departments are dealing with an increasing number of stories like Murrin’s: “more arrests, more overdoses, more deaths.”

Wilmette Police Chief Brian King told the Tribune that “it’s currently more available than it probably has been in a couple decades. You can get a bag $10.” King said that he plans to launch a public information campaign, and numbers show “an uptick in the drug’s popularity.” There were two recent incidents in which people were arrested for likely buying the drug in Chicago and attempting to inject it in parking lots off the Eden Expressway. Recent arrests include two Glenview women in their early 20s, and a 32-year-old Skokie man who was found overdosing outside of his vehicle in the Edens Plaza parking lot.

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Carbondale Man Charged with Possession of a Firearm

 Posted on November 30, 2012 in Chicago News

Andre V. Scott, 31, of Carbondale, was arraigned in federal court in Benton, according to the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. Scott “was charged by indictment on November 6, 2012, with Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.” He was then held without bond and is awaiting a January 2012 jury trial. An offense such as Scott’s carries a penalty of up to “10 years’ imprisonment, 3 years’ supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 upon conviction.” The investigation was conducted by the Carbondale Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Chicago has long had a pretty severe firearm ordinance, but in June of this year it took a heavy blow when “a federal judge ruled that the section banning permits for people convicted of unlawful use of a weapon is vague and unconstitutional,” according to the Chicago Tribune. This ruling offers some hope for Scott and those accused like him, because it means that a conversation deciding whether or not a person convicted of even a misdemeanor offense can own a firearm is already well within the public psyche.

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