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Archive for August 1st, 2014

Race & Justice News: Federal Agency Targets People of Color in Drug Sting Operations…and More

Posted by Admin On August - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

(From The Sentencing Project)

Brad Heath of USA Today reports that 91% of individuals arrested in drug sting operations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in the past decade have been racial minorities – nearly all black or Hispanic. “That rate is far higher than among people arrested for big-city violent crimes, or for other federal robbery, drug and gun offenses,” notes Heath. This estimate is based on court files and prison records for 635 defendants arrested in ATF’s stash house stings. These operations – which have more than quadrupled in the past decade, though fallen this year – are designed to combat gun crime by producing “long prison sentences for suspects enticed by the promise of pocketing as much as $100,000 for robbing a drug stash house that does not actually exist.” Melvin King, ATF’s deputy assistant director for field operations, has rejected claims of racial profiling and stated: “We’re targeting the worst of the worst, and we’re looking for violent criminals that are using firearms in furtherance of other illegal activities.”

Although ATF officials state the agency uses criminal records, police intelligence files, and confidential informants to identify people already responsible for violent robberies, Heath notes that in two cases government informants have described randomly identifying targets in black and Latino neighborhoods. Federal courts are now weighing in. One case reviewed by a U.S. District Court in California was declared unconstitutional, with Judge Manuel Real chiding ATF for “trolling poor neighborhoods to ensure and ensnare its poor citizens.” A federal appeals court in Chicago is considering charges of entrapment in another operation.


Racial Disparities Highlighted in New York City Prosecutions

Racial biases continue to influence criminal prosecutions in Manhattan, finds a new study by the Vera Institute of Justice. At the request of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Vera partnered on a two-year National Institute of Justice study on the relationship between prosecutorial decision-making and racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Analyzing 222,542 cases resolved in 2010–2011, the 251-page report reveals that blacks and Latinos were at a disadvantage relative to whites in three key stages of criminal cases (pretrial detention, plea bargaining, and incarceration sentence), but not in two (case acceptance and case dismissal). In fact, whites were less likely than blacks and Latinos to have their cases dismissed. “This finding,” note authors Besiki Luka Kutateladze and Nancy R. Andiloro, “raises the question of whether having higher dismissal rates for defendants of color should be viewed as an indicator of leniency, or simply serve as a mechanism for declining to prosecute cases that could have been rejected at screening.”

The starkest disparities were found in the prosecution of misdemeanor drug offenses: blacks were 27% more likely and Hispanics were 18% more likely to receive a custodial sentence offer than similarly situated white defendants. Surprisingly, prior arrest record was more influential on sentence offers than prior sentence history, in accordance with this office’s plea guidelines. The authors recommend revising these guidelines because if they were “based on prior sentences, as opposed to prior arrest, much of the difference between black and white, and Latino and white defendants would have disappeared, at least in misdemeanor cases.”

The New York Times reports that the study has prompted the Manhattan District Attorney to call for implicit bias training for his assistant prosecutors. The Times’ Editorial Board commends Vance for inviting this analysis of his office and, echoing the Vera authors, urges him to “reduce prosecutors’ emphasis on prior arrests and work with his staff to accept fewer cases in the first place.”

In neighboring Brooklyn, the District Attorney’s Office will stop prosecuting low-level marijuana cases in an attempt to improve the administration of justice and put the office’s resources to better use. District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson said in a confidential memo that the policy was set up to keep nonviolent people, “and especially young people of color,” out of the criminal justice system, according to the New York Times. Possession of marijuana is still illegal in the state, and Brooklyn is the only borough to issue this policy. Those arrested in Brooklyn will undergo a case-by-case review and only those with no or minimal criminal records will qualify under the policy.


Justice Department Requires Police Agencies to Reduce Racial Bias

Three-quarters of pedestrian stops by Newark police in recent years were unconstitutional, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation reported in the Los Angeles Times. Although blacks accounted for 54% of the city’s population, they made up 81% of pedestrian stops and 79% of arrests. Blacks were also more than three times as likely to be frisked as whites, even though rates of recovering evidence did not differ by race, highlights NPR’s Code Switch blog. Based on its investigation, the DOJ announced that it would assign a federal monitor to the Newark Police Department.

DOJ consent decrees and memos of understanding affect about 20 cities, with a recent agreement reached in Albuquerque and an investigation underway in Cleveland. This federal oversight has drawn mixed reactions from local officials. Federal monitor Merrick Bobb praised new Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole for her efforts to comply with a two-year-old consent decree requiring reforms to curtail excessive force and racially-biased policing. However, the Seattle Times reported several weeks earlier that more than 100 Seattle police officers filed a lawsuit claiming the consent decree created a “bold, new disregard for police authority in the streets of Seattle.” The suit has drawn the ire of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray who responded: “The police department will comply with that court order. The City of Seattle will not fight the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. This is not the 1960s.”

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Rep. Cedric Richmond have asked for additional funding to comply with a two-year-old consent decree, reports the Times-Picayune. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Richmond wrote, “these consent decrees are far too expensive for a recovering and challenged city like New Orleans to bear while concurrently investing in the safety of her citizens.” The decree came after DOJ investigators found evidence of “discriminatory policing based on race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.”

VA Police Chief Says Bias Not Cause of Racially Disparate Drug Arrests

After reviewing the results of an internal study, Danville, Virginia Police Chief Philip Broadfoot is confident that racial bias is not fueling racial disparities in drug arrests.

The Danville Register & Bee reports that black residents accounted for 71% of the city’s 731 drug arrests in 2013 – figures highlighted at a City Council meeting last December by Carolyn LaViscount, a concerned citizen. Danville, bordering North Carolina with a population of 43,000, is 49% African American. The police study found that 47% of the drug arrests resulted from traffic stops, 21% from other officer-initiated encounters, 15% were complaint-driven, and the remainder were from extra duty work, checkpoints, and warrant service. Broadfoot explained that the disparities in many of these categories resulted from the location of police work and officers’ suspicion of criminal behavior. The “bottom line,” Broadfoot told reporter Allison Roberts, is that “if an officer pulls someone over, that officer has to articulate why they asked for a search and what the driver’s behavior is to warrant such a search.”

LaViscount had told the City Council that racism “may not be the acknowledged intent of the policies that determine how drug crimes are handled, but it is certainly the effect.” After meeting with Danville United – a community relations coalition – Chief Broadfoot agreed to consider two strategies to reduce racial disparity in drug arrests: analyze data on drug types for which arrests are made, and offer racial sensitivity and diversity training for incoming officers. But, as Roberts writes, “Broadfoot explained that training officers to deal with people in a professional manner is much more effective than diversity training.”

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NACDL Applauds U.S. Sentencing Commission Vote Cutting Federal Prison Terms for Drug Offenses

Posted by Admin On August - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

On July 18, the U.S. Sentencing Commission took a significant step, long urged by NACDL and numerous allied organizations in the criminal justice community, to cut federal prison terms for drug offenses. The adopted reform retroactively decreases the drug table set forth in U.S. Sentencing Guidelines §2D1.1 by two-offense levels across all drug types. In short, it means that, unless Congress acts to block it, effective November 1 of this year, some 50,000 people currently incarcerated in the federal prison system for drug offenses could be eligible for a reduction of their sentence by an average of nearly two years, with releases slated to begin November 1, 2015.

The courts can begin granting motions for sentence reductions, under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), on November 1, 2014. The Commission delayed the date upon which release may occur to November 1, 2015, in order to provide the courts with time to consider motions and to provide the Bureau of Prisons and reentry agencies with time to prepare for reentry services. The amendment will be added to the list of retroactive guideline changes under USSG §1B1.10. This guideline also sets forth various policies concerning reduction proceedings and will now include the proviso that court orders reducing sentences under the “drugs minus two” amendment must have an effective date of November 1, 2015, or later.

NACDL has long advocated for an end to mandatory minimums and for fairer and more rational sentencing policies. In connection with the Commission’s consideration of the retroactivity of Amendment 3, the Association filed this letter on July 7, 2014. Additional NACDL resources on sentencing reform can be found here.

President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the United States District Courts

Posted by Admin On August - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, President Obama nominated Allison Dale Burroughs and Amit Priyavadan Mehta to serve on the United States District Courts.

“I am pleased to nominate these distinguished individuals to serve on the United States District Court bench,” said President Obama.  “I am confident they will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”

Allison Dale Burroughs:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Allison Dale Burroughs is a partner at Nutter McClennen & Fish, LLP, where she represents individuals and corporations in criminal and civil proceedings primarily before federal courts.  Previously, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney—first in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 1989 to 1995 and subsequently in the District of Massachusetts from 1995 to 2005.  She began her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Norma L. Shapiro of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 1988 to 1989.  Burroughs received her J.D. cum laude in 1988 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and her B.A. cum laude from Middlebury College.

Amit Priyavadan Mehta: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Amit Priyavadan Mehta has been a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP since 2010, where he represents clients in civil and criminal matters before state and federal courts.  He rejoined the firm as counsel in 2007, after serving as a staff attorney for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia from 2002 to 2007.  Mehta worked as an associate at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP from 1999 to 2002, as a law clerk for Judge Susan P. Graber of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1998 to 1999, and as an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP from 1997 to 1998.  He received his J.D. in 1997 from the University of Virginia School of Law and his B.A. in 1993 from Georgetown University.

Kirk Calls on Secretary McDonald to Stand Up for VA Whistleblowers and Veterans Who Have Suffered Abuse

Posted by Admin On August - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
New Information from Hines Whistleblower Details a Culture of Retaliation and Punishment

Veterans Are Suffering In Culture of Corruption and Abuse

WASHINGTON, IL –  U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) sent a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald with additional information from a key whistleblower at the Hines VA Hospital that further details a pervasive culture of corruption and retaliation within the hospital.

Germaine Clarno is a Hines employee who has spoken publicly about the secret wait lists, falsified wait times and negligent care at the hospital, and has been experiencing blatant retaliation from hospital officials and her superiors following her efforts to detail the corruption within Hines. Senator Kirk has repeatedly called for the firing of Joan Ricard, the Director of Hines, and reiterated the need for her immediate dismissal in today’s letter following the additional information shared by Germaine. There have been no adequate protections in place for Germaine as she continues to share her experiences at Hines with the public. The latest timeline of events shared with Senator Kirk detail the retaliation and mistreatment she has suffered at the hands of Joan Ricard’s Hines Administration.

“The pervasive culture at Hines perpetuated by Joan Ricard affords no protection for whistleblowers and the veterans that have continuously sacrificed for our nation,” Senator Kirk said. “Secretary McDonald owes the veterans and employees of hospitals like Hines adequate protections and accountability within the system.”

The Senate today voted to approve The Veterans’ Access to Care Act, which would give the VA Secretary the authority to fire employees who have demonstrated poor performance and conduct. The legislation passed, 91 to 3, and will now go President Obama for his signature.

The letter to Secretary McDonald can be seen below and here:

July 31, 2014

The Honorable Robert McDonald
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20420

Dear Secretary McDonald:

Congratulations on your confirmation as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. An institution founded to provide our nation’s heroes with the medical care they deserve, the VA has unfortunately become marred in unacceptable bureaucratic problems and plagued with systemic corruption.  You are now charged with the sacred and urgent responsibility of fixing this agency and elevating its performance to the level that those who selflessly served their country deserve.

When we met prior to your confirmation hearing, I spoke to you about the mounting evidence my office had uncovered of delayed and negligent care, secret wait lists, and appointment scheduling manipulation.  Additionally, I shared with you my concerns that a pervasive culture of corruption and systematic retaliation against whistleblowers existed at the Hines VA and was being perpetuated by the leadership there. I was adamant that upon your confirmation you look directly at Hines and investigate these allegations diligently.  Unfortunately, today I write you with urgent concerns of retaliation against a crucial whistleblower that demand your immediate attention.

Last Friday, Mr. Rob Nabors, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, visited Hines VA and met with Director Joan Ricard, members of the Hines VA staff, Senator Durbin, several representatives from Congressional offices, and myself.  Prior to this meeting, I asked Mr. Nabors to meet privately with a group of Hines whistleblowers who approached my office and a veteran whose wait times had manipulated at least 57 times over the course of four years. One of those whistleblowers, Ms. Germaine Clarno, is a social worker at Hines and the President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 781, which represents Hines employees. Ms. Clarno has been vocal about her involvement with my office as a whistleblower, and has helped many employees muster the courage to come forward with evidence of negligence, cover-ups, and corruption at Hines. I believe that Mr. Nabors left that meeting impressed and gravely concerned with the mounting evidence of corruption and malfeasance of the leadership at Hines.

Following this meeting, Ms. Clarno has experienced retaliation at Hines. The following is the timeline of retaliatory events involving Ms. Clarno and all correspondence are attached:

Tuesday, July 29:

  • While working on her AFGE computer, Ms. Clarno receives a message on her computer screen that she needed to contact the IT department.  Ms. Clarno is informed by IT that someone is coming to remove her computer per orders of the VISN.
  • After locking her door and refusing to hand over her AFGE computer, Ms. Clarno sees that her computer is being accessed remotely and that someone is attempting to copy files from her hard drive. Ms. Clarno immediately turns off her computer.
  • A female named Val from IT attempts to contact Ms. Clarno via telephone while accessing her files, accidently leaving her a voicemail where she can be heard saying “She turned off the PC on me! She turned off the PC on me! She turned it off in in the middle of copying the files!”
  • Dawn Williams, the Chief of the IT department calls Ms. Clarno and informs her that if she did not surrender her computer by 4pm she would be taken off the VA network.  Ms. Williams told Ms. Clarno that there was an “encryption issue.”  When asked by Ms. Clarno how many other computers at Hines had this issue and needed to be taken for IT work, Ms. Williams informed Ms. Clarno that hers was the only computer at Hines that had the “encryption issue.”
  • Ms. Clarno contacts her union attorney, J. Ward Morrow.  Mr. Morrow sends Hines VA leadership, Director Joan Ricard and Dawn Howard Williams, the Chief of IT Department, a Cease and Desist letter, demanding that Ms. Clarno be given access to her AFGE computer. The letter reads:
  • “Dear Ms. Williams and Ms. Ricard: It has come to the attention of the national office of AFGE that you are attempting to access and tamper with the computer records, hard drive, and/or other files that Ms. Clarno maintains in her representational capacity for AFGE.  United States Code protects the legal right of such representation and the employees/members of Hines VA facility now have their right to come to the union and speak freely compromised.  Additionally, we view this as a violation of federal law, Ms. Clarno’s rights under federal law, and all of the members of the AFGE locals’ rights under federal law.  By this email, we now assume that you are making this violation knowingly and intentionally, and if you do not immediately cease and desist from this action, we will be asking for any and all proper sanctions that may be allowed under federal law for this violation.”
  • Joan Ricard, Director of Hines VA, replies “IT does not report to me” and refuses to answer any further as to why Ms. Clarno has had her AFGE computer files accessed/copied remotely and her computer locked.

Wednesday, July 30:

  • Brent Pope, Regional Counsel, Region 10-Chicago, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs emails Mr. Morrow that the lock of Ms. Clarno’s computer was for a “CRISP” (Continuous Readiness in Information Security Program) initiative, that only one computer at Hines was flagged for needing “encryption” in this initiative and it was a coincidence that the one computer flagged at Hines happened to be Ms. Clarno’s.
  • Robert Tanjauakio, the Chief Information Officer at Hines, comes to Ms. Clarno’s office to take her computer.  He tells her that there was a misunderstanding, that this was a network wide project, and her computer needs to be removed.  Ms. Clarno asks Mr. Tanjauakio how many other computers need to be removed for the project and he informs Ms. Clarno that out of the 3,600 computers on the network hers was the only one at Hines that needed to be removed.
  • Ms. Clarno remains locked out of using her AFGE computer and is therefore unable to complete necessary job tasks.

Every whistleblower that has contacted my office has consistently said that the culture of retaliation at Hines was pervasive, and that there was a palpable fear amongst employees to come forward with damaging information about the practices at Hines or the actions of Hines leadership.  Germaine Clarno has been the voice of the employees since the VA scandal broke, and I fear she is now experiencing the same retaliatory aggression other whistleblowers have alleged.

We cannot begin to fix the VA if we do not know what the exact problems are, and without the help of employees that task is impossible.  We must send a clear and unequivocal message: retaliation will not stand, and those in leadership positions that condone it, including Joan Ricard, will be held accountable.


“Let’s end veteran homelessness once and for all” – First Lady Michelle Obama

Posted by Admin On August - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The following op-ed by First Lady Michelle Obama appeared last night across McClatchy platforms.


Let’s end veteran homelessness once and for all

At the beginning of June, 85 mayors, governors and county officials from across the country – and across the political spectrum – signed on to the Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness. Today, we’re announcing that in the two months since then, 97 more state and local leaders have signed on – meaning that a total of 182 local leaders have pledged to end homelessness among the veterans in their communities by the end of 2015.

I know that might sound like a pipe dream. After all, veteran homelessness is a problem we’ve faced for decades – in fact, almost 90 percent of all homeless veterans served prior to 9/11. And as a country, we’ve never been able to rally the resources and the public will to get all of our veterans off the streets and into stable housing.

So why do all these state and local leaders believe that things are any different today? The answer to that question is simple: because today – thanks to federal, state and local leadership and the determined, daily work of advocates on the ground – we’re finally seeing that ending veteran homelessness is not just something we should strive to achieve – it’s something we actually can.

For example, in recent months, Phoenix and Salt Lake City effectively ended chronic homelessness among their veterans. New Orleans is on track to end all veteran homelessness within the next six months. Last year, New York City helped more than 2,000 veterans get into safe and stable housing. St. Paul and Minneapolis have cut veteran homelessness in half over the last five years, and between the two cities there are just 18 veterans left on the streets.

Any number of veterans left out in the cold is too many, but those numbers show us that even in some of our largest metropolitan areas, ending veteran homelessness is eminently achievable.

My husband has believed this from the moment he took office. That’s why he not only vowed to end veteran homelessness, he coupled that pledge with record funding and innovative strategies to get it done. We know that through solutions like “housing first” – an evidence-based strategy to get our veterans into permanent housing before tackling issues like mental health, substance abuse or employment – we can not only do right by our veterans but also save taxpayer money. Quite simply, it’s cheaper to pay someone’s rent than to pay for hospital bills, law enforcement and so many other services if they’re living on the street.

By employing that strategy, even in the midst of a historic recession, we’ve seen tremendous progress. Since 2008, we’ve housed more than 73,000 veterans through the HUD-VASH program, which provides housing vouchers to help homeless veterans pay for permanent, stable housing. And last year alone, under a program called Supportive Services for Veteran Families, we kept more than 60,000 veterans and their family members from falling into homelessness. Next year, we expect that number to grow to over 100,000.

But we know that this problem can’t be solved by Washington alone. It takes local leaders to implement community-wide plans. It takes advocates and service providers who know our veterans by name and can connect them with the services and support that they need. And it takes folks from all across the country making their voices heard and dedicating their time and energy to help these veterans find a place to call home.

So if your mayor hasn’t signed on to the mayors challenge, light up their phone lines and ask them why not. If you’ve got a free minute, contact a local organization in your neighborhood and ask when you can volunteer or where you can donate.

Our veterans have given so much to this country – time and again, with their service and sacrifice, they’ve shown us who they are. Now it’s up to the rest of us to show who we are. It’s up to us to show these veterans we’ve got their backs and end veteran homelessness once and for all.

Michelle Obama is First Lady of the U.S.

Collins Backs Hard-Hitting Truancy Task Force Report

Posted by Admin On August - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

“Not enough has been done to keep our young people in the classroom learning. There are no shortcuts. CPS cannot make sustainable gains in attendance without dedicating staff and resources to the problem.” — State Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th)

CHICAGO, IL –Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement on the final report of the Truancy in Chicago Public Schools Task Force. Collins, concerned about the impact of widespread, chronic absenteeism throughout the state but particularly in CPS, sponsored legislation last year creating the task force and directing it to report back to the General Assembly with findings and recommendations. Senate President John Cullerton appointed Collins to serve on the task force, which held public hearings throughout the spring.

This is a bold, specific, hard-hitting report because it needed to be. Not enough has been done – either in the Chicago Public Schools or in districts throughout the state – to identify and address the root causes of truancy and keep our young people in the classroom learning.

Chronic absenteeism is caused by diverse factors: homelessness, lack of transportation, failure to engage the student, special needs that are not adequately addressed, disciplinary issues and more. A one-size-fits-all approach is simply not good enough. That is why I fully agree with the task force’s conclusion that a permanent statewide commission should be created to monitor progress and continue to address truancy and its causes both in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois.

Attendance is central to education, and we have a moral (and often a legal) obligation to school-aged youth; we cannot give up on them simply because they are not present in the classroom. If there is one lesson we can take from today’s report, it’s that there are no shortcuts. CPS cannot make sustainable gains in attendance without dedicating staff and resources to the problem. I intend to stay engaged with CPS and with my colleagues on this task force so we see real changes made and real improvements in children’s lives and opportunities.

The report can be found here:


Madigan: Jackson & Schuyler County Arrests in Child Pornography Operation

Posted by Admin On August - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL ─ Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced charges against two men on multiple counts of possessing and distributing child pornography as part of “Operation Glass House,” a statewide initiative to apprehend the most active offenders who download and trade child pornography online.

Earlier today, investigators with Madigan’s office and the Rushville Police Department arrested Dennis J. Henniger, 50, at his home in the 100 block of Liberty Street in Rushville. Henniger was charged with three counts of distribution of child pornography, a class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison, and 10 counts of possession of child pornography, a class 2 felony punishable by three to seven years in prison. Bond was set Thursday at $300,000.

On Wednesday, Richard J. Taylor, 48, of Murphysboro, was arrested after investigators with Madigan’s office and the Murphysboro Police Department executed a search warrant at his home in the 1500 block of Oak Street. Taylor was charged with four counts of distribution of child pornography, a class X felony each punishable by six to 30 years in prison, and six counts of possession of child pornography, a class 2 felony each punishable by three to seven years in prison. Bond was set Thursday at $750,000.

“Viewing and trading child pornography is not an innocent act but a terrible crime that perpetuates the sexual assault of children,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “My office will continue to be relentless in apprehending the worst offenders who trade these horrific videos.”

These are the 65th and 66th arrests of Madigan’s Operation Glass House, which she launched in 2010 to investigate and arrest the worst offenders trading child pornography online. The operation’s investigations conducted by Madigan’s High Tech Crimes Bureau have revealed a disturbing community of criminals who are trading and viewing extremely violent videos of children as young as infants being raped and abused.

Madigan’s investigations were assisted by the Murphysboro Police Department and the Rushville Police Department. The Jackson County State’s Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case against Taylor, and the Schuyler County State’s Attorney’s Office will handle the case against Henniger.

“I would like to thank the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and her staff for their hard work and commitment to pursuing these offenders,” said Schuyler County State’s Attorney Ramon Escapa. “We will continue working with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office in prosecuting this case.”

“We value the work of the Attorney General’s Office and the professionalism and cooperation between our agencies,” said Murphysboro Police Chief Brian Hollo.

“My office was pleased to assist the Attorney General’s Office in getting this offender off the streets,” said Rushville Police Chief Chris Edwards.

In addition to Operation Glass House, Madigan leads the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Task Force investigates child exploitation crimes and trains local and county level law enforcement agencies throughout Illinois to do the same. Since 2006, Madigan’s ICAC task force has been involved in 790 arrests of sexual predators. The task force has also provided Internet safety training and education to more than 368,000 parents, teachers and students and more than 17,500 law enforcement professionals.

The public is reminded that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship Now Accepting Applications for 2014-2015

Posted by Admin On August - 1 - 2014 1 COMMENT
The deadline to apply is September 30th

Xerox Technical Minority ScholarshipNationwide(BlackNews.com) — The 2014-2015 Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship will provide funding to minority students enrolled in one of the technical sciences or engineering disciplines. The scholarship amount award depends on the student’s tuition balance, academic excellence and classification.

Applicants must be academic high-achievers with a GPA average of 3.0 or better and must be US citizens or visa-holding Permanent Residents of African American, Asian, Pacific Island, Native American, Native Alaskan, or Hispanic descent.

Award amounts range from $1,000 to $10,000, and applicants must be enrolled as a full time undergraduate or graduate student in any of the following technical fields: Chemistry, Computing & Software Systems, Information Management, Material Science, Printing Management Science, Laser Optics, Physics, Material Science, and all forms of Engineering – including Software Engineering.

All applications must be submitted by Tuesday, September 30, 2014.

For more details, visit:

To search hundreds of other 2014-2015 scholarships, visit:

Operation Homefront to Give Free Backpacks and School Supplies to Military Kids

Posted by Admin On August - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Great Lakes, IL – Operation Homefront of Central Midwest will hold a Back-to-School Brigade event August 1, 2014 where free backpacks full of school supplies will be given to military kids. Military parents wishing to bring their children to the event to receive free school supplies should arrive early, as the event is first come, first served.

“Military families deal not only with deployments and the other stresses of military life, but also the economic difficulties shared by all Americans,” said Darcy Clardy, Executive Director of Operation Homefront’s Central Midwest Field Office.  “These donated school supplies enhance the morale and the success of our military children, while easing the burden military families carry.”

The school supplies will be donated by people from around Great Lakes, Illinois and collected at local Dollar Tree stores as part of Operation Homefront’s nationwide Back-to-School Brigade program.

About Operation Homefront:  A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 2,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has provided assistance to thousands of military families since its inception in 2002. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity watchdog groups, nationally, 93 percent of total donations to Operation Homefront go directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to www.OperationHomefront.net.

Use Caution When Looking For Cars Online, Warns Better Business Bureau

Posted by Admin On August - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL -  With the internet at our fingertips, making online purchases is as easy as one or two clicks of the mouse. And increasingly, consumers are choosing to buy cars from online ads. However, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that there is a great deal of risk in doing so.

In its most recent annual report, the Internet Crime Center says auto fraud accounts for 12 percent of all online purchase scams, totaling to more than $60 million dollars in losses to consumers.

Most often, the scam works like this; buyers purchase vehicles advertised at a low price by individuals that don’t own them. The scammer generally does not meet the consumer and requires them to pay via wire transfer.

“It’s hard to pass up a good deal, especially on an investment like a car. Consumers need to be extremely cautious because the amount of money they could lose can be sizable,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Reports say that the average amount lost on one of these scams is nearly $4,000.”

The BBB offers the following tips for online car shopping:

  • Check the vehicle’s price. Before buying a car, check out a similar make and model’s price on other websites. If the price is way below market value, it’s probably a scam. Be sure to order your own CARFAX report on the vehicle.
  • Communicate with the seller. If a seller refuses to meet in person, this is a bad sign. At the very least, discuss the purchase with the seller on the phone to get more information about the person or business. Sellers should also allow the buyer to inspect the vehicle before making payment.
  • Be careful with the transaction. Be cautious of transactions in which the seller and the vehicle are in different locations. The seller may claim they are not able to take the car along because of military deployment, moving because of family circumstances, or job relocation. Scammers also try to push for quick payments via wire payment systems, so never send money using this payment method.
  • Check the vehicle identification number. When you check out the car, make sure the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) matches with the number on the paperwork. The VIN can be found on the car’s dashboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle. Make sure the VIN number on the card matches the number on the insurance card, insurance policy and vehicle title and registration.
  • Slow down. If a seller says the car will be shipped after payment is received, take the time to research the shipper and contact the transportation company to validate the shipping arrangements.

For more information on finding businesses you can trust, visit bbb.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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