Tag: County

Tammy Wendt, former lawyer for Jason Van Dyke, wins Cook County Board of Review race

A lawyer who was part of the defense team for former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke has ousted the sole Republican on the Cook County Board of Review.

A final tally of votes from the Cook County clerk’s office and from the Chicago Board of Election commissioners showed Democrat Tammy Wendt ahead of Dan Patlak, who has served on the board since 2010, by 11,693 votes — a 1.5-percentage-point margin.

In a statement Tuesday, Wendt thanked her team and supporters and said she was humbled and “can barely believe this is my reality.”

“I have a big job to do, and I’m looking forward to diving in and doing my very best for my constituents, just as I have promised during my campaign,” Wendt wrote. “I am looking forward to filling my staff with qualified professionals who I can lead into this next chapter with the Board of Review.”

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Bail reform in this county didn’t have any impact on new criminal activity, new study says

Criminal Justice

Image from Shutterstock.com.

Bail reform in the county that includes Chicago had no impact on new criminal activity or violent criminal activity of defendants who were released before trial, according to a new study.

The study, by the Loyola University Chicago, examined bail reform in Cook County, Illinois, instituted by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans.

His September 2017 order required judges to first determine whether a defendant should be released before trial. In cases of release, a presumption of release without money bail applied. If the judge did set bail, the amount should be affordable to the defendant.

The study found that the probability of new criminal activity, after controlling for defendant and case factors, remained at about 17% before and after bail reform, while the

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Boone County Sheriff’s Office helps investigate Kentucky bestiality case

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Boone County Sheriff investigators assisted with the prosecution of two people under a Kentucky law passed in 2019, that makes sex with animals a felony. (Photo: Provided)

Boone County Sheriff investigators assisted with the investigation of what is believed to be the first bestiality law conviction since state lawmakers outlawed sex with animals in 2019, according to a Kentucky Attorney General release.

The 97-0 vote passing of Senate Bill 67 in March 2019 made Kentucky one of the last states to make bestiality illegal, according to a Courier-Journal article.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the convictions Tuesday in the release. 

The Boone County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Maysville Police Department and Assistant Attorney General Rewa Zakharia of the AG’s office of special prosecutions, according to the release.

Bracken County resident Nolene Renee Horn, 44, and Mason County resident Christopher S. Jones, 50, have each pleaded guilty in Mason County

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Conservative attorneys challenge Dane County gatherings ban

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A conservative law firm asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to immediately block Dane County’s ban on indoor gatherings and indoor sports amid the coronavirus pandemic, arguing the order will ruin Thanksgiving and subject young athletes to mental trauma.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a petition with the high court on behalf of two parents of young athletes and an indoor gymnasium. The petition asks the justices to take the case directly without waiting for it to wind through lower courts and issue an immediate injunction blocking the ban.

The firm argues the high court should take the case because many counties have expanded their coronavirus ordinances and the state needs clarification on how much power local elected officials can delegate to health departments. Janel Heinrich, the director of Dane County and the city of Madison’s joint health department, has “egregiously” seized

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LA County restricts in-person dining due to COVID-19 cases

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Los Angeles County announced new coronavirus-related restrictions Sunday that will prohibit in-person dining for at least three weeks as cases rise at the start of the holiday season and officials statewide begged Californians to avoid traveling or gathering in groups for Thanksgiving.

The new restrictions in Los Angeles County – the nation’s most populous – came as the California Department of Health and Human Services reported more than 15,000 coronavirus cases statewide Saturday – by far the highest level since the pandemic began in March. Another 14,000 cases were recorded Sunday.

California’s average daily number of coronavirus cases has tripled in the last month, the Los Angeles Times found in an analysis, while COVID-19 hospitalizations have doubled in the same time period.

A curfew that affects most of the state took effect Saturday requiring people to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. unless they

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Doctor: Maricopa County attorney’s recovery is going well

PHOENIX (AP) — Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel remains hospitalized but is responding well to treatment while recovering from surgical removal of a blood clot from bleeding on her brain experienced after a Nov. 3 fall, her treating physician said Thursday.

Adel “is alert and communicating with her family and medical team,” Dr. Michael Lawton, Adel’s treating physician and president, said in a statement released by Adel’s Office.

Lawton is CEO of Barrow Neurological Institute where Adel was transferred on Nov. 5. She initially was treated at another hospital where she underwent the surgery during which the blood clot was removed, said Adel spokeswoman Jennifer Liewer.

Adel, a Republican, was appointed county attorney in late 2019 to fill a vacancy. Democratic challenger Julie Gunnigle has conceded defeat to Adel in the Nov. 3 election.

Chief Deputy Ken Vick and Chief of Staff Candice Copple are overseeing the daily operations of

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Washington County criminal justice panel moving ahead

story.lead_photo.captionNWA Democrat-Gazette FILE PHOTO
The exterior of the Washington County jail.

FAYETTEVILLE — Washington County officials, federal advisers and a consulting firm agreed Friday to look at hiring staff to support a new committee.

The county’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee met with Katie Green, from the National Institute of Corrections, and Michelle Cern, with the National Center for State Courts. Both said hiring staff is the next step.

“It’s key,” Green said. “It will be really helpful in getting you to a place where you’re going to be able to work on the initiatives identified by the National Center for State Courts.”

A study by the National Center for State Courts recommended the county form the Coordinating Committee to develop plans and collaborate with the county to help with decision-making. The study was approved last year by the Quorum Court.

The committee includes judges, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, public defenders,

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Help is on the way to tackle huge overload of misdemeanor family violence cases in Bexar County

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales announced Friday that six County Court at Law judges have agreed to take on misdemeanor family violence cases in an effort to relieve the huge overload of pending cases.

Prior to Friday, only County Court at Law 7 and 13 were assigned such cases. But due to the COVID-19 protocols in effect, all courts ceased having jury trials and most moved to virtual hearings, which resulted in a much slower process than in-person hearings and an increase in 1,500 cases.

“Thousands of (family violence) survivors are facing a very long wait for justice,” Gonzales said of the backload.

Thanks to judges Alfredo Ximenez, John Longoria, Mary Roman, Tommy Stolhandske, Carlo Key and Melissa Vara, who don’t normally handle such cases, the caseloads for judges Michael De Leon and Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez will be reduced, Gonzales said.

Prior to the pandemic, there

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District judge orders the counting of 318 misplaced Ramsey County ballots

A judge has ordered Ramsey County election officials to open and count 318 absentee ballots that were properly cast but misplaced and went uncounted in election returns released two weeks ago.

Ramsey District Court Judge John Guthmann agreed to issue the order Thursday after Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, DFL-Roseville, one of 131 candidates on the misplaced ballots, petitioned the court to have them counted. An attorney for Ramsey County agreed the votes should be tallied.

The county’s Canvassing Board acknowledged the “obvious error” at an emergency meeting Wednesday. County officials said they didn’t believe the additional ballots could flip any of the races, based on where the voters lived, but they county notified all candidates whose races might be affected.

Under state law, the deadline to automatically count those ballots has already passed and a court order was required to tally them.

Becker-Finn, an attorney who represents five northern Ramsey

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Fired Kalamazoo County attorney settles federal lawsuit with former employer

KALAMAZOO, MI — About one year after former Kalamazoo County attorney Beth White filed a complaint against her former employer in federal court, the case was settled this week.

Court documents did not specify the amount, if any, that was paid to settle the lawsuit. County Administrator Tracie Moored declined to provide the settlement agreement paperwork.

“After extensive negotiations, the litigation has been resolved and the matter is concluded,” Moored said.

MLive has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the documents.

Kalamazoo County commissioners unanimously voted to fire the county’s lead attorney during the board’s Wednesday, Nov. 6, meeting. At the time, the board did not give a specific reason for terminating White.

In response, White filed a federal lawsuit alleging violations of the Whistleblower’s Protection Act, wrongful discharge, breach of contract and violations of the Open Meetings Act. In addition to the county, the lawsuit specifically names

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