Police and Courts | WGLT

Police and Courts

Hastert To Lose Pension

Apr 26, 2017
Tannen Maury / EPA

An Illinois retirement board is terminating former U-S House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s state pension.

He’d been collecting about $28,000 a year for his service in the state legislature.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

McLean County Sherriff Jon Sandage is banning cell phones in the Law and Justice Center starting in June.

Sandage said some people were violating policy against photos and recordings in court.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Pretrial skirmishing among attorneys is important for any criminal trial.

It helps set the ground rules for the courtroom conflict between prosecution and defense.

Steven Damron / Flickr

Illinois is observing its first-ever Distracted Driving Awareness Week The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and Triple-A created the initiative.

More than 300 law enforcement agencies in the state will focus on violations for distracted driving, including the Town of Normal.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Police said a woman whose home was broken into shot the intruder.

The incident happened about 1:32 a.m. Friday. Officers say a home alarm went off from the garage in the 700 block of South Clayton.

Court Rejects Blagojevich Appeal

Apr 21, 2017
Il. Dept. Corrections / Facebook via Creative Commons

A federal court has taken just three days to reject the appeal of imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich seeking a third sentencing.

The unanimous ruling Friday by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago dismissed arguments that the Democrat's trial-court judge should have reduced his 14-year prison term for corruption because of his good behavior behind bars. 

Heidelberg Conviction Tossed

Apr 21, 2017
Roger W. / Flickr

Family and attorneys representing Cleve Heidelberg call yesterday’s court ruling “historic,” for a man who’s spent the last 47 years in prison.

A Peoria County Judge granted Heidelberg a new trial in the 1970 murder of Peoria County Sheriff’s Sergeant Raymond Espinoza.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee votes today to submit the name of Neil Gorsuch to the full Senate for confirmation as the next U. S. Supreme Court justice.

What happens next is anyone's guess, and the options play out like the scene from a political science fiction movie. Meghan Leonard, Professor of Politics and Government at Illinois State University, and a judicial politics scholar,  said during Sound Ideas the stage for all of this was set last year when the Republican-controlled Senate failed to call President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland for a vote in an unprecedented move.

Emma Shores / WGLT

The McLean County Coroner is continuing its investigation into a pedestrian death on Veterans Parkway.

Coroner Kathy Davis identified the man as 50-year-old Jeffery A. Darr. A preliminary autopsy indicates Darr died from injuries after being struck by a sport utility vehicle on Veterans Parkway, south of Shepard Road in Normal.

Darr was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:19 PM Friday. The Normal Police Department is also investigating the crash. Toxicology results are pending. 

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

An Illinois appeals court has ruled in favor of WGLT, the Pantagraph Newspaper, and the Illinois Press Association in a dispute with the defense counsel in the Kirk Zimmerman murder case.

Zimmerman's Attorneys had sought to keep secret hearings on some pretrial motions. They argued disclosing those would make it more difficult to find impartial jurors.

Caterpillar Hires Big Name Legal Help

Mar 17, 2017
IPR

Caterpillar Inc. is hiring a former U.S. attorney general to help it sort out matters that sparked a federal raid on its headquarters in central Illinois.

William P. Barr will serve as outside counsel to the large equipment manufacturer.

He'll help Caterpillar review and address issues relating to Caterpillar SARL, a Swiss parts subsidiary, and tax-saving practices.    

Issues with Caterpillar SARL have dogged the company for eight years, sparking a Senate investigation, shareholder lawsuits, and proposed taxes and penalties totaling $2 billion.

RogerW / Flickr

The New York Times is raising the question of Tax and Accounting Fraud by Peoria-based Caterpillar, Incorporated, not just negligence in taxes owed. Citing a confidential report to federal investigators, the Times alleges Caterpillar did not comply with either U.S. tax law or U.S. financial reporting rules.

Leslie Robinson of the Accounting Department at Dartmouth is the author of the report. The story quoted Robinson saying she believed the company's non compliance was deliberate and primarily with the intention of maintaining a higher share price.

McLean County Sheriff's Dept.

A Bloomington man has been found not guilty by reason of insanity in connection with the stabbing deaths of his parents last July.

25 year-old Brian Petersen was accused of murdering his parents, Nancy and Bruce, at their rural Bloomington home. McLean County Judge Robert Freitag determined during a 30-minute bench trial Brian Petersen didn't understand the criminal aspect of his actions when he attacked his parents.

Jon Norton / WGLT

The recent immigration directives from the Trump administration and Department of Homeland Security widened the net of undocumented people in the U.S. considered a priority for deportation. Immigration  attorney Charlotte Alvarez said that is changing how she offers advice.

"We're advising anyone who is undocumented to seek legal counselor to see if there's any options for adjusting or changing their status," said Alvarez. 

Alisdare Hickson/Creative Commons

"Even though I don't have documents, this is my country and I will do whatever to defend it," said a 30-year-old undocumented immigrant who wants to be called Victor because he fears being deported under new Trump administration policies.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

Armed robberies and shootings were up in Bloomington last year, but most major crime categories were down.

Police Chief Brendan Heffner said that's according to the annual crime report.

Staff / WGLT

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage said he is not seeing a big change in immigration enforcement yet from the Trump Administration.

President Trump has made border security and deportation of undocumented immigrants a centerpiece of his policy.

JWolff-STL / Flickr

Next week a downstate judge is scheduled to hear arguments whether Illinois state workers should be paid if there’s still no budget. The result could shut down state government.

Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan says if a judge rules employees cannot get paid, the threat of a shutdown could force a budget agreement.

Staff / WGLT

An 80-year old man has died in a crash at Veterans Parkway and Fort Jesse Road in Normal this morning.

McLean County Coroner Kathy Davis identified the victim as 80-year-old Wayne L. Miller of El Paso. Police Chief Rick Bleichner said three vehicles were involved about 9:30 a.m.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

A large group of Bloomington residents are upset with the City Council's decision to unanimously approve a lease from Mid-Central Community Action for the property at 828 W. Jefferson Street to serve as a community house.

Staff / WGLT

An Illinois appeals court has rejected a claim by a convicted home invader in Normal that he didn't harm anyone and shouldn't be punished.

Court records show police were chasing Chad Dorsey in March of 2013, trying to arrest him on a warrant. Dorsey broke down a door into a family's apartment.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

Bloomington Alderman Scott Black says he is ready to vote on the West Jefferson Street Community House next week.

The property was originally proposed as a police substation. The WGLT interview with Black is part of series of interviews on the west side house and its proposed use. 

Staff / WGLT

The Appellate Prosecutor's Office has declined to file charges against Normal Town Council member Scott Preston for inaccurate travel expense reimbursement reports.

McLean County State's Attorney Jason Chambers had referred the matter to a special prosecutor because of his relationship with Preston and his former tenure on the Council.

11th Judicial Circuit

Judges in the 11th Circuit have retained Kevin Fitzgerald as Chief Judge of the circuit that includes Bloomington-Normal.

Fitzgerald was first elected Chief in 2014 and will serve another one year term.

Staff / WGLT

McLean County Prosecutors have now filed a formal charge of theft of government property against a former manager of U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.

Back in July, Curtis Webb told GLT one of his goals was to be a good public steward of funds and to reduce the operating deficit at the venue.

GLT, The Pantagraph, and the Illinois Press Association have filed legal papers seeking to intervene in the Kirk Zimmerman murder case in Bloomington.  Zimmerman is charged with shooting to death his ex-wife Pamela in her office on East Washington, Street.

Zimmerman's defense lawyers want to prevent media coverage of arguments about two pre-trial motions and to hold the hearings in secret.  The motions deal with potential evidence that the defense believes is inflammatory enough to prevent a fair trial.

Illinois State University

It started as an Active Shooter alert followed by a warning to those on the Ohio State University campus to run-hide-fight, if need be.

It was over relatively quickly but nine people received injures from a butcher knife or being hit by a car.

Emma Shores/WGLT

In the last decade, the Bloomington Police Department has seized more than one point-one-million-dollars in property through asset forfeiture laws. The city has kept more than half of that money.

The Town of Normal has seized more than 800-thousand dollars in property.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

A McLean County Judge has found a 25-year old Bloomington man mentally fit to stand trial for murder.

Brian Peterson is accused of stabbing his parents to death in their rural home.

Bloomington Police Department

Bloomington Police report another night of gunfire, this time near Locust and Madison Streets.

A night earlier officers found a car that had been hit by bullets in the same general area.

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