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  Unveil price tag on services they provide to city   By Chinta Strausberg More than three-dozen diverse religious ...
Disenfranchisement News By Marc Mauer Sentencing Project Florida Judge rules Florida's rights restoration process is unconstitutional U.S. District Judge Mark ...
CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) announced ...
 (From The Campaign for Better Health Care)   Illinois - The Campaign for Better Health Care (CBHC) ...
 John Edward Taylor allegedly masqueraded as a millionaire and businessman to romance victims, steal their ...
Father Pfleger praises Senator Collins for her ‘no’ vote; vows to bust out others   By Chinta ...
Colorado Springs and Boise businesses gave their cities highest grades in Kauffman Foundation/Thumbtack.com ...
Wilson to meet with Garcia soon By Chinta Strausberg While he finished third in a ...
Lt. Spann to be remembered at services in Texas and home state of New Jersey ...
  By A. Barry Rand, CEO, AARP                                                                                                                                                                                                          Last year, I called a meeting of the ...

Archive for April, 2018

Victim of Chicago Police Det. Guevara, Wrongfully Imprisoned 22 Years, Sues City

Posted by Admin On April - 30 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Thomas Sierra was 19 years old When he was wrongly put behind bars

For more than half of his life

Press Conference with Thomas Sierra & his attorneys, 2 PM, Monday, April 30

Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, 311 N. Aberdeen Street, 3rd floor, Chicago

 

CHICAGO, IL – The parade of once-young victims speaking out against gross Chicago police misconduct grew one stronger today as Thomas Sierra, a man who spent more than half his life wrongfully behind bars, sued the City of Chicago for its failure to rein in crooked cops.

 

Sierra is among dozens of Chicagoans wrongly convicted and thrown behind bars by disgraced Chicago Police officer Reynaldo Guevara, who abused his position as a police detective to manufacture false evidence and lie in court for decades.

 

Sierra and his lawyers are calling today for an immediate criminal investigation into Detective Guevara for his decades of misconduct, which has resulted in 100s of years of wrongful incarceration and has shattered the lives of countless Chicago families.

 

“The time has come for officials in Chicago and Cook County to hold Detective Guevara publicly accountable for his criminal conduct. For decades Detective Guevara and his colleagues railroaded dozens of innocent men like Mr. Sierra, sending them to prison for serious crimes they did not commit,” said Jon Loevy of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, one of Sierra’s lawyers.

“Detective Guevara’s years-long crime spree destroyed the lives of the dozens of people he wrongly convicted and their families, and tore at the fabric of the neighborhoods in which they lived. And while Detective Guevara sent the innocent to rot in prison, he let the guilty run free in the streets, compounding the tragedy for the victims and their families. There is no criminal more dangerous than a policeman who uses the power entrusted to him by the public to systematically destroy lives and to make our communities less safe.”

When questioned recently about their misconduct, Detective Guevara and a number of his former Chicago police colleagues have repeatedly pleaded the Fifth, including when asked about railroading Mr. Sierra. Cook County Judge James Obbish recently found that Detective Guevara had told “bald face lies” on the witness stand, and had “eliminated any possibility of being considered a credible witness in any proceeding.”

Mr. Sierra, his family, friends and attorneys will speak at a 2 pm, Monday, April 30th press conference at the offices of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, 311 N. Aberdeen Street, 3rd floor, Chicago. In addition to Mr. Loevy, Mr. Sierra is represented by Loevy & Loevy attorneys Anand Swaminathan and Steve Art. Copies of Mr. Sierra’s suit, Thomas Sierra v. Reynaldo Guevara, et al., No. 1:18-cv-03029, can be found here.

Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms, and over the past decade has won more multi-million-dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the country.

NAACP Commends Executive Order Restoring Voting Rights to New Yorkers on Parole

Posted by Admin On April - 30 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

BALTIMORE, MD – The NAACP, the nation’s premier civil rights organizations, commends New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for signing an executive order to restore voting rights to individuals on parole and celebrates the work of the NAACP New York State Conference and its partners for advancing this legislation.

 

“This executive order is a major victory for civil rights and civic engagement,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO. “The NAACP and our allied organizations have long been fighting for the right for returning citizens to regain their full rights as citizens of our democracy. This victory in New York shows us the power of grassroots organization in the fight to expand voting rights nationwide.”

 

“Our work has paid off,” said Hazel N. Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference. “We are grateful for the support of our partners – the New York Urban League, National Action Network, Common Cause, and New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus – in this long but worthy fight for the rights of New Yorkers on parole. We look forward to continuing to work together in the continued struggle to advance civic engagement and criminal justice in our city.”

“This is great news for New Yorkers and a great indication of the potential for progress nationwide,” said Ngozi Ndulue, Senior Director of Criminal Justice Programs for the NAACP. “The executive order will restore enfranchisement to thousands of New Yorkers, permitting them to vote upon release from incarceration. Of the 35,000 individuals currently on parole in New York unable to vote, Black and Latino New Yorkers make up 71 percent. This new reform will combat this racial inequity, reduce recidivism, and promote civic engagement.”

 

Federal Court Rejects Trump Administration’s Bid to Terminate DACA Program

Posted by Admin On April - 30 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS
170830173743-01-daca-rally-exlarge-169BALTIMORE (April 24, 2018) – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the country’s original civil rights organization, today celebrates a huge victory for DACA recipients around the nation.  A federal court in Washington, D.C. found legally insufficient the memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) terminating the DACA program and struck down the memorandum unless DHS can offer a stronger basis for ending the program affecting hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants. Federal Judge John Bates said the decision by the Trump administration to rescind DACA was “virtually unexplained” and as such “unlawful.” He gave DHS 90 days to provide a legally sufficient explanation.  If DHS fails to provide an explanation that meets legal muster, DACA will be vacated in its entirety and DHS will be required to maintain the program for current enrollees and to accept and process applications from new enrollees who meet the program’s eligibility rules.  Decisions from other federal courts have mandated that DHS temporarily continue the DACA program as to current enrollees pending further action in those cases.  Judge Bates’s decision represents the first time that any court has vacated DHS’s “Rescission Memorandum,” thus potentially allowing new enrollees to participate in the program for the first time since DACA was terminated.  ““Dr. King was right when he said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “Our nation made a promise to protect undocumented young immigrant and this administration attempted to renege on that promise, but justice prevailed.” The NAACP and its co-plaintiffs successfully argued that the defendants failed in their efforts to articulate a legally sufficient justification for reneging on the commitments extended through the DACA program to DACA-eligible undocumented immigrants.   Plaintiffs in the case also alleged that the Trump administration violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act by terminating the DACA program, but the court’s ruling was confined to the plaintiffs’ Administrative Procedure Act claims. 

The NAACP filed its case in September of last year against President Trump, Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, DHS Secretary Elaine Duke, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, in defense of people of color eligible for the DACA program.  The NAACP was joined in the case by two of the nation’s largest labor unions- the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the United Commercial Food Workers (UCFW). Later Princeton University and Microsoft Corporation filed a similar case that was joined with the NAACP case.   

“This is a major win for advocates for justice and a compassionate democracy,” said NAACP General Counsel Bradford M. Berry. “ 

There are approximately 800,000 DACA recipients across the country, including some who are NAACP members, and many more who are DACA eligible.  The vast majority of DACA registrants and those eligible for DACA are people of color. More than 80% of registrants are of Mexican origin, according to a report from the Migration Policy Institute; about 36,000 immigrants of African origin were also immediately eligible for the DACA program. Additionally, the report shows that over 20,000 undocumented youth from the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are eligible for DACA. 

“Ending the DACA program was neither right nor lawful. Given the unstable political climate our clients and the other Dreamers faced, it’s great to know that their education and livelihood will be able to continue without the looming threat of deportation,” said Joseph M. Sellers, Partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, who served as lead attorney for the NAACP in the case.   

2 Different Cases, 2 Different Bad Cops, 2 Exonerations: Wrongful Conviction to be Overturned

Posted by Admin On April - 30 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

 

On Monday, two judges in two separate cases, involving two different cases of notorious Chicago police misconduct, are set to declare two men innocent who between them spent 45 years wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they didn’t do.

 

Between them, the two cases highlight the continuing systemic problem of Chicago police misconduct, which has led it to being dubbed “the false confession capital.”

* Press Conference Immediately After Court *

Monday, April 30, 2018 at approximately 10:45 am

Outside of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse
2650 S. California Ave, Chicago

 

Anthony Jakes was 15-years-old when Chicago Detectives Kill and Kenneth Boudreau, proteges of Jon Burge, beat a false confession out of him. Robert Bouto was 17-years-old when Chicago Detective Reynaldo Guevara framed him for murder.

Immediately after both cases are heard Monday morning, both men and their attorneys at The Exoneration Project will hold a press conference just outside of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S. California Avenue. Details on both men’s cases and Monday morning’s brief court hearings are below

Case #1: People v. Bouto

Courtroom 706, 10 am

Robert Bouto’s conviction for a 1993 shooting death near Roosevelt High School will be vacated Monday morning after the Cook County State’s Attorney announces she will not oppose Bouto’s request for a new trial.

Bouto, 42, spent 23 years in prison before he was paroled in 2016. Bouto, 17-years-old when he was falsely arrested, was sentenced to 45 years imprisonment. Bouto’s exoneration represents the 18th* case that has unraveled because of false evidence presented by Det. Reynaldo Guevara.

Det. Guevara, who has been accused of misconduct in almost 100 other cases, refused to testify as to whether he framed Bouto for murder, and asserted his Fifth Amendment right to silence on grounds that a truthful answer would subject him to criminal liability. Two witnesses have come forward to explain that their identifications of Bouto were tainted by Det. Guevara, and Bouto’s alibi witnesses have maintained for over 20 years that they knew an innocent man was wrongfully convicted because they were with him at the time of the crime.

“They didn’t care about who was guilty or who was innocent. Guevara knew I didn’t do it, but he wanted to close a case. I’ve been telling the same story for twenty years to anyone who will listen.” said Bouto.

This is the sixth Exoneration Project client to have his Guevara-related conviction overturned in two years. The Exoneration Project has five additional pending cases of wrongful conviction connected to Guevara, and numerous other investigations are still under way.

* Other Detective Reynaldo Guevara-related exonerations:

1. Roberto Almodovar;

2. Xavier Arcos (conviction reversed on appeal)

3. Robert Bouto (conviction vacated, pending retrial);

4. Santos Flores (conviction reversed on appeal, then took a plea in exchange for release);

5. Ariel Gomez;

6. Henry Johnson (conviction reversed on appeal, then took a plea in exchange for release);

7. Juan Johnson;

8. Jose Maysonet;

9. Jose Montanez;

10. William Negron;

11. Jorge Pacheco (conviction vacated at sentencing);

12. Arturo Reyes;

13. Jacques Rivera;

14. Angel Rodriguez (conviction reversed on appeal);

15. Ricardo Rodriguez;

16. Armando Serrano;

17. Thomas Sierra; and,

18. Gabriel Solache.

Case #2: People v. Jakes

Courtroom 301, 10:30 am

Anthony Jakes, 41, was 15-years-old when he was beat by Chicago Detective Michael Kill and coerced by Detective Kenneth Boudreau, police trained by Jon Burge, into signing a false confession. During the course of a sixteen-hour interrogation without a parent or youth officer present, Jakes was slapped, punched, kicked, and threatened that he would be thrown out of a window, and his family harmed.

Jakes immediately stated that his confession was the product of abuse, and at his bond hearing, injuries to Jakes’ back, stomach, knee, elbows and ribs were photographed. Jakes gave a demonstrably false confession stating that he saw the victim laying in the street while looking out the window of his house. The investigating detectives did not know that this was impossible – Jakes lived in the carriage house behind another building, and could not see the street from his house.

After an evidentiary hearing that has spanned two years, Special Prosecutor Robert Milan will dismiss all charges against Anthony Jakes for a 1991 murder in a Back of the Yards’ sandwich shop. After serving 22 years of a 45-year sentence, Jakes was paroled from prison in 2013.

“It’s been more than 20 years since Chicago was finally forced to fire its notorious Police Commander Jon Burge, and yet his legacy of destroying lives and families continues on,” said Attorney Russell Ainsworth of the Exoneration Project. “This is Burge 2.0. Boudreau and others picked up where Burge left off by abusing young men of color into giving false confessions. Because the City knew about the gross misconduct but refused to stop it, the Detectives believed they could violate people’s rights with impunity, and thus the City is complicit in each of these wrongful convictions.”

Mr. Jakes is the 15th** person to have his conviction overturned in cases where Boudreau played a critical role in obtaining the evidence used to gain the wrongful conviction. It is the sixth Boudreau-related conviction overturned by the Exoneration Project.

** Other Boudreau-related exonerations:

1. Harold Hill;

2. Dan Young;

3. Tyrone Hood

4. Wayne Washington;

5. Michael Saunders;

6. Harold Richardson;

7. Vincent Thames;

8. Terrill Swift;

9. Nevest Coleman;

10. Darryl Fulton;

11. Charles Johnson;

12. Lashawn Ezell;
13. Larod Styles; and,

14. Troshawn McCoy.

* Over a dozen additional men were acquitted at trial despite confessing to murder in cases handled by Boudreau, including Mr. Jakes’s co-defendant, Arnold Day.

Cook County Receives U.S. EPA Grants

Posted by Admin On April - 30 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Brownfields funding will aid south, west suburban communities

The Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability was awarded two brownfield grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the agency said.

These grants will aid south suburban communities in assessing possible contamination on vacant or underused properties. The grants will also aid in the remediation of properties in some south and west suburban communities. The goal is to return brownfield properties to productive use creating jobs, bolstering the local tax base and creating other local economic development benefits.

“I am grateful that Cook County is the recipient of these grants,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “Overall, the funding presents us with a great opportunity to improve the environment as well as encourage economic development and create jobs. The work that these grants will fund builds on our partnerships with local communities and local leaders and continues Cook County’s work to position these south and west suburban areas for growth.”

A $600,000 Brownfields Coalition Assessment Grant will allow properties in south suburban Chicago Heights, Ford Heights and Sauk Village to be assessed for potential contamination. Sites will be chosen cooperatively with the local municipalities.

The grant will allow initial assessments of about 40 sites and final assessments of 20 of those 40 sites.

In addition, Cook County was awarded a $751,000 Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund grant that will provide resources to redevelop and reuse brownfield sites through loans for cleanup in Chicago Heights, Ford Heights and Sauk Village. West suburban brownfield sites already assessed in Bellwood, Maywood, Schiller Park and Franklin Park are also eligible for the funding.

Brownfield sites generally are real property in which expansion, redevelopment or reuse of the property may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off greenspaces and working lands, according to the U.S. EPA.

The goal of both grant projects is to foster livable, vibrant communities that are safe, healthy and rich with amenities for all residents, regardless of age, race or income level.

Federal funds through these grants will become available on October 1, 2018.

Last year, Cook County announced that 30 brownfield sites totaling approximately 127 acres were assessed and more than 120 acres are undergoing reuse planning or redevelopment as a result of a U.S. EPA grant received in 2014.

Governor Rauner Requests SBA Assistance for Iroquois, Kankakee and Vermilion Counties for February Floods

Posted by Admin On April - 30 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

If approved, people and businesses could apply for low-interest, long-term loans to aid recovery

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Governor Bruce Rauner today submitted a request for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance to help people and businesses in Iroquois, Kankakee and Vermilion counties recover from severe storms and floods in February.

If approved, the SBA declaration would enable people and businesses in the three counties as well as those in contiguous counties to apply for low-interest, long-term loans.

“Many people are still working to fully recover from these devastating floods,” said Gov. Rauner. “If approved, these low-interest loans could speed up that process for many people and businesses.”

To be eligible for an SBA declaration, at least 25 homes and/or businesses in a county must sustain major, uninsured losses of 40 percent or more. A damage assessment conducted in March by the SBA determined 74 homes and nine businesses in Iroquois County, 28 homes and three businesses in Kankakee County, and 21 homes and seven businesses in Vermilion County met that criteria.

On April 11, the state of Illinois requested federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help people recover from the floods, but that request was denied late Thursday.

State Senator Raoul Pushes for Stronger Review of Officer-Involved Shootings

Posted by Admin On April - 30 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) passed legislation yesterday to ensure all officer-involved shootings are properly investigated.

Senate Bill 2378 requires every law enforcement agency in the state to develop a written policy for the internal review of officer-involved shootings that would be available by request under the Freedom of Information Act.

This legislation comes after a report from the Better Government Association which found that suburban police departments were neglecting to take administrative action after officers were involved in shootings.

“I have spent years working to improve relations between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve,” Raoul said. “Establishing trust is an essential part of that effort, and that is impossible to do if police aren’t held accountable for their actions.”

An officer-involved death is a death of an individual directly resulting from the action or intentional negligence of a law enforcement officer on the job.

Raoul previously passed a comprehensive package of legislation that focused on law enforcement reform and improving community relations.

That measure, which was signed into law in 2015, requires law enforcement agencies to have an independent agency conduct investigations into officer-involved deaths. The legislation passed this week codifies that requirement to promote greater accountability.

Senate Bill 2378 passed unanimously and heads to the House for consideration.

White Awards Over $15 Million in Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid Grants

Posted by Admin On April - 30 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White has awarded FY18 Illinois Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid Grants totaling $15.4 million to 630 public libraries serving almost 12 million patrons.

 

“I am proud of the outstanding service Illinois’ public libraries provide to our communities,” White said. “Our libraries are the best and most reliable information resource available to citizens and I am pleased to be able to provide these grants each year.”

 

Some of the valuable services public libraries provide include the following:

  • Free Internet access
  • Books, magazines, newspapers, CDs and DVDs
  • Audiobooks and eBooks
  • Interlibrary loan service
  • Reference services such as homework assistance
  • Social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter
  • After school and summer programming for children
  • Book clubs where patrons read and discuss books
  • Multicultural programming and translation services
  • Special programs and services for senior citizens such as tax return assistance and how to use computers and email
  • Voter registration and organ/tissue donor drives
  • Meeting rooms for important community events

 

Per Capita Grant funding is authorized under Illinois library law for public libraries, which allows resources for expenses such as materials, personnel, equipment, electronic access, telecommunications and technology. Equalization Aid Grants help qualifying public libraries with a low library tax base ensure a minimum level of funding for library services. Information concerning the grant programs can be found at http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/grants/plpc_equalization.html.

 

State Rep. Harper Pushes for Greater Access to Healthy Food Across Illinois

Posted by Admin On April - 30 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – To help combat the lack of access to healthy foods  in the South Side of Chicago, state Rep. Sonya Harper, D–Chicago, passed legislation to extend the state’s Healthy Local Food Incentives Program.

“The severity of limited healthy food options is a significant issue in my district and across the south and west sides of Chicago,” said Harper. “Having limited or no healthy options to choose from has long-lasting negative effects on health and well-being, especially for those who rely on public assistance to obtain nutritious food. Eating healthy food should not be limited to the economically privileged.”

Harper’s legislation extends the state’s Healthy Local Food Incentives Program, which was set to expire next year. The program will create and issue grants to farmers markets to double the value of a Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient’s purchasing power, expanding access to fresh, locally grown foods to low-income families. The Healthy Local Food Incentives Program has yet to receive any funding and includes a mandated expiration date requested by Governor Bruce Rauner. Through this legislation, which passed the Illinois House of Representatives last week with unanimous bipartisan support, Harper wants to continue working to secure funding for the grants that help residents access and buy healthy foods.

“This will help not only people in need buy the food they need, but also incentivize farmers markets to apply for grants to sell their goods and produce to people of all income levels,” said Harper. “We can’t wait any longer to get the resources to people so they can take care of their families and develop healthy eating habits.”

8th Ward Alderman’s Abuse of Power and Waste of Taxpayers’ Money Was Obvious During a Peaceful Press Conference by 8th Ward Residents

Posted by Admin On April - 28 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Several 8th Ward residents held a Press Conference in front of Ald. Michelle Harris’ ward office to protest a proposed Low Income, Section 8 housing project to be built at 9329 to 9429 S. Stony Island Ave. The building will consist of 134 units, 7 Story.

When protesters arrived for the Press Conference in front of the alderman’s ward office at 8539 S. Cottage Grove Ave., there were 6 Police SUV Squad Cars already stationed on the street in various places, and a few police officers standing on the sidewalk with protesters to watch what was going on.

Walderman_harris_abuse_of_powerith crime being what it is in Chicago, 8th Ward residents who attended the Press Conference were baffled and taken aback when they counted six SUV squad cars on the street. “Did she think a mob was coming?” a person asked. “These police officers could best serve the community being out on the street fighting crime.”

“What’s this all about?” asked another protester. “Is it necessary to have this many police officers here for a Press Conference?”

“What was she (alderman) thinking?” yet another protester asked. “What does she expect us to do? Are we suppose to be a mob or something? I’m sure everyone out here has no violent intentions. Is this an ego trip for her? Or is she trying to put importance on herself? Believe me, we will remember her on Election Day February 26, 2019.”

To be continued:
Zoning board meeting is May 9, at 10:00 am
City Council Chambers
City Hall, 2nd. Floor

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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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