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October 2012 Archives

Legal U: Five Alternatives to Unchaperoned Trick-or-Treating

If you haven't figured it out by now, we're stressing the dangerous aspects of Halloween. It's a holiday rife with danger. Sex offender curfew laws may do little to protect kids, drunk drivers run rampant, and in general, parents have a lot to worry about. This might sound a bit alarmist, but hey, this is how lawyers think. And maybe you should too, just for a bit.

In any case, the days of unchaperoned trick-or-treating should be behind us. Consider these options instead:

Halloween Sex Offender Laws Every Parent Should Know

Myth: Sex offenders are not allowed to pass out candy on Halloween.

Reality: While there is a restriction on those who are on parole or probation, the vast majority of sex offenders are free to dress in costumes, hand out candy, and even go trick-or-treating.

Former 'Death Row' Cop, Accomplice, Arrested for 'Kill Room' Plot

These men have been watching far too much Dexter. Former death row inmate and Chicago Police Department officer Steven Mandell (formerly Manning), 61, and his fellow former cop turned accomplice Gary Engel, 61, were arrested by the FBI today on charges of attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Oh yeah, and they also allegedly planned to dismember the victim’s body and drain the blood in a specially outfitted killing room, dubbed by the duo as “Club Med.”

Three Absurd Sex Laws in Illinois

Fornicators and adulterers. How is the State of Illinois supposed to thrive with such immoral and illicit acts being bandied about? The moral foundation of this sate is crumbling beneath our feet!

Alright. Enough of that. Buth those were probably the thoughts of the inspired individuals who passed the following statutes. One certainly wonders how often they have been enforced.

Pedophile 3-Peat Over the Weekend: Three Separate Arrests

Joe V. Hymon, 44, of Oak Park, was arrested after the Oak Park Police Department was notified that an IP address that was using a file sharing program to download and upload child porn was traced back to an Oak Park address. An IP address is the electronic equivalent of a physical address. When police arrived at his address, they found two computers with more than 700 pornographic videos and images of children, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Aidan T. Lowry, 22, of Chicago, allegedly solicited children for the purpose of sexual relations. He contacted two minors, ages 12 and 13, after meeting them via Facebook and maintaining contact via chat and text messaging, reports the Tribune. He attempted to meet the children in Morton Grove, but fortunately, the meeting never happened.

Chief Keef in Trouble (Again) Over Guns, Probation Violations

Said he wanna be...
Said he gonna be...
Shorty gonna be a thug

Was Tupac predicting the life and times of Chief Keef with his 1996 classic, "Shorty Wanna be a Thug"? Not likely. Even if Tupac was psychic (he did predict his own death, after all), he wouldn't have wasted his time on Keef. And yet, the parallels are interesting:

Appeals Court: You Weren't Bribed Enough to be Convicted

Dominick Owens, 46, ruined his career as a City of Chicago zoning inspector by taking two $600 bribes to issue certificates of occupancy for houses that were not inspected, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. A career lost over $600? You’re doing it wrong, bro!

Oh, but wait. Maybe he was doing it right. Earlier this year, he was convicted of taking bribes worth more than $5,000 and sentenced to a year and a day in prison. He faced a maximum of 10 years and a $250,000 fine, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Abused Woman Seeks Clemency for Husband's Murder 26 Years Ago

The year 1986 was a very different time. Marion County Circuit Judge Michael D. McHaney was a young and inexperienced lawyer, in way over his head. Peggy Jo Jackson was a young bride and an alleged victim of years of domestic violence. There were no shelters for battered women in Jefferson County in 1986. There were only a few in the state. The Domestic Violence Act was passed just that year.

The day before her husband’s death, Jackson says that her brother called and told her to leave her door unlocked and not tell her husband, as he wanted to talk to him. The next day, when her brother began to argue with her husband, she took the children away from the fight. When she returned, her husband was dead. The body was found, beaten with a baseball bat and shot, in the back of a burning car, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Another Pot Plant Bust in Chi - Perp Lit Bonfires to Warm Plants

There are many ways to protect a plant from an unusually cold night. GardeningKnowHow.com recommends the use of sheets and plastic. The Daily Mail recommends horticulture fleece. Daniel A. Selmon, 23, decided to light a couple of bonfires near his backyard garden, reports the Daily Herald. Unfortunately, the bonfires alerted authorities, who then discovered that the backyard garden contained a handful of marijuana plants.

Last week, we had a pot bust triggered by a lucky police helicopter catching a glimpse of the bright green marijuana leaves through a gap in the tree canopy. The police found a football field-sized plantation of pot. This week, an idiot lights bonfires in a residential area and hopes that no one notices. Both discoveries could lead to felony charges.

Mentally Ill Suburban Chicago Man Held in Church-Bombing Plot

There are a lot of reasons to feel sorry for terror suspect and recent arrestee Gregory Arthur Weiler II, 23. The Elk Grove Village native was caught in Oklahoma in the midst of an alleged plot to bomb 49 churches as part of a larger plan to eradicate all churches from the United States.

Police say they found 49 Moltov Cocktails in Weiler's motel room, as well as hand-drawn maps and manifestos. They were tipped off by a handyman who found suspicious materials in the trash and "accidentally" entered Weiler's hotel room.

According to ABC 7 News, Weiler's Facebook page detailed a history of abuse at the hands of a Catholic-school bully. He also stated:

Health-Care Fraud Crackdown Busts 2 Chicago-Area Scams

Several non-profit groups linked to a South Side businessman were supposed to use $11 million in state health-care grants to fund research into cures for cancer and HIV/AIDS. Now, Leon Dingle Jr., 75, along with his alleged co-conspirators, have been indicted on 23 fraud-related counts by a federal grand jury, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

In a separate case, another Chicagoland resident, Sharon A. Rinaldi, 57, is accused of over-billing Medicare by at least $100,000. In some cases, she allegedly billed for psychological counseling of patients who were already dead. In another incident, she billed for more than 24 hours of work in a single day, prosecutors say. She also claimed to be treating patients in Illinois between 2008 and 2011, when she was living in San Diego and Las Vegas. It turns out she may not have even been licensed since 2002, because of a default on her student loans.

Chicago Police Find Massive Marijuana Crop on Far South Side

In about a week or two, some lucky growers would have had about $10 million worth of weed ready for sale. And they could have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those pesky Chicago police.

Earlier this week, a Chicago police helicopter stumbled upon a growing field that was hiding in plain sight, just a few miles from their helipad in the city's far South Side, reports the Associated Press.

According to police, they were simply there at the right time, at the right elevation, and with the right cops on board.

Drug Addicted Trio Suspected in Over Sixty Suburban Burglaries

Gotta fuel the habit, right? A trio of Mt. Prospect residents were taken into custody after a lengthy investigation into residential and automotive burglaries culminated in their arrest, reports the Daily Herald.

Mt. Prospect expects to tie Ryan J. Bloom, 22, Richard J. McCann, 34, and Lizette M. Norman, 34, to nearly two dozen burglaries, while surrounding suburbs' investigators could bring that number to as high as sixty offenses. The initial comments from the investigators highlight the need for Chicagoans to use common sense.