Cook County Branch Courts at Belmont and Western and at 51st St to close January 4th

From the Cook County Courts website:

The Circuit Court and Cook County have finalized the scheduled closing of two Chicago branch court locations – 155 W. 51st St. and 2452 W. Belmont Ave.  – to take effect after court concludes on January 4, 2019.

The two branch court closings, which were finalized as part of the budget litigation settlement between the county and the court, will help the county avoid $9.2 million in repairs, renovations and maintenance that would be necessary to keep the two buildings safe, operational and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The matters now heard at each city branch court are misdemeanor bail hearings, misdemeanor trials and felony preliminary hearings.

The upcoming changes are:

  • Starting on December 10, 2018, all misdemeanor bail hearings at all five city branch court locations will move to the Leighton Criminal Court Building, 2600 S. California Ave. This brings all Chicago bail hearings to one location, as is currently done on weekends and holidays.
  • Starting on January 7, 2019, all other misdemeanor matters (such as misdemeanor trials) and felony preliminary hearings at 155 W. 51st St. will move – depending on the location of the alleged offense – either to the branch court location at 727 E. 111th St. or the branch court location at 3150 W. Flournoy St.
  • Starting on January 7, 2019, all other misdemeanor matters (such as misdemeanor trials) at 2452 W. Belmont Ave. will move to 5555 W. Grand Ave. The felony preliminary hearings at 2452 W. Belmont Ave. and 5555 W. Grand Ave. will move to the Skokie courthouse, 5600 Old Orchard Road, which is where those two branch courts’ cases already go when they advance to trial. Felony matters that arise in Chicago and are already heard in Skokie do not include Chicago murder charges and Chicago sexual assault charges, which are currently only heard at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Defendants should check their bail bond slip, summons, ticket or notice-to-appear documents for the correct court location. Those whose court locations may change will receive notice by mail from the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Defendants may also contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Criminal Department at (312) 603-4641.

 

Chicago considering allowing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to wipe out ticket debt

From WBEZ:

The Chicago City Council’s finance committee approved a measure Monday that would forgive ticket debt for some city motorists, but only those who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The move is meant to steer indebted drivers away from Chapter 13 bankruptcies that rarely eliminate their debt. The proposed reform, which comes amid growing calls to overhaul the city’s ticketing and debt collection practices, was drafted by the Law Department and included in the 2019 budget package approved by the finance committee.

The measure would wipe away unpaid tickets, fines and fees issued more than three years before debtors file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as long as their bankruptcy plan is successful and they complete a city payment plan for more recent ticket debt. Late penalties and other fines, including boot and impound fees, would also be forgiven.

The measure seeks to address a significant problem uncovered in a ProPublica Illinois report in February: that thousands of mostly black and low-income motorists are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to cope with the consequences of unpaid parking and automated-traffic-camera tickets that often lead to license suspensions and vehicle seizures.

Chapter 13 is the only kind of bankruptcy in which municipal debt, such as unpaid tickets, can be forgiven. But it is rarely a good long-term solution for many people, particularly those with ticket debt. That’s because this type of bankruptcy requires debtors to hand over their disposable monthly income for up to five years, which people with limited incomes often find challenging.

If they stop making payments and their bankruptcy cases get dismissed, debt collectors can come calling again, and threaten license suspension and vehicle seizure. Fewer than one in four of these cases end with debtors successfully completing a payment plan and emerging from bankruptcy, ProPublica Illinois found.

Chapter 7 bankruptcies, on the other hand, almost always end with debt relief. But motorists in Chicago don’t often go that route for two reasons: Ticket debt can’t be forgiven using this kind of bankruptcy, and most lawyers require their fees to be paid in full before they file for bankruptcy protection…

Read the rest of the story here:  https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/chicago-considers-wiping-away-old-ticket-debt-for-motorists-who-file-for-chapter-7-bankruptcy/5407d3aa-1e5e-4e27-bc3d-4884c9b86c8f?utm_campaign=Daily_Newsletter_Daily-Rundown_Non-Members_20181106&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua&mi_ecmp=News_Newsletter_Daily-Rundown-250ok_Custom_20181106%20-%20Batch&mi_u=960554

Wrestler Stephan “American Psycho Bonnar arrested for DUI

From the NY Post:

Dramatic footage shows UFC legend Stephan Bonnar being pinned to the ground and cuffed as he was arrested for DUI.

The fighter, nicknamed “The American Psycho,” was detained Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas after motorists reported his “erratic” driving at 90 miles per hour, police said.

Witness Katie Dyer, 29 said: “If nobody had stopped him I think he would be dead.

“He was going to hit something, whether it was a car or a wall, and another person could have died.”

Dyer was part of a convoy moving south along I-15 into Las Vegas when she says she saw Bonnar’s red Cadillac dart across the midsection of the road.

Footage filmed by her 10-year-old son, Chance, shows Bonnar crawling along, straddling the emergency lane and holding up traffic.

Dyer claims that she, along with other members of the Jeep club JeepFam, went on to “box in” Bonnar and reduce their speed, forcing him to stop.

Passing truckers, meanwhile, arranged their vehicles in a line across the road, which brought the convoy to a standstill at around 2 p.m.

Police and traffic cops were called to the scene, and footage shows a Nevada highway patrol officer arresting Bonnar.

Video shows Bonnar, 41, looking flushed as he is held face-down to the gravel by four of the Jeep club members…

Read the entire dramatic story here:  https://nypost.com/2018/10/31/ufc-legend-pinned-to-the-ground-during-dui-arrest/

Chicago Police Sergeant charged with On Duty DUI

From NBC Chicago:

An on-duty Chicago police sergeant was charged with drunk driving Wednesday morning after failing a random drug and alcohol test at the police department’s headquarters on the South Side.

About 4:45 a.m., Michael Muszynsky, a 48-year-old sergeant assigned to the Albany Park district, drove to the Chicago police headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave. in the Bronzeville neighborhood, to take a breathalyzer test.

His blood alcohol concentration was revealed to be at .139, surpassing the .08 limit of needed to legally drive a vehicle.

Muszynsky was arrested at 9 a.m. and charged with one misdemeanor count of DUI.

Read the whole story here:  https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/chicago-cop-charged-dui-497873621.html

Libertyville cop alleged to have given a pass to a Waukegan officer pulled over for DUI

From Patch:

Waukegan police officer was let off the hook instead of getting a DUI charge, according to police footage obtained by the Lake County News-Sun. The non-arrest isn’t the only recent example of local police going easy on each other.

On Sunday Nov. 12, 2017, soon before 3 a.m., Waukegan Officer Daniel Ramirez was pulled over on Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville for speeding. The Libertyville cop who pulled him over, Officer Richard Kelly, administered a breathalyzer test, which Ramirez failed with a .17, over twice the legal limit.

Ramirez didn’t have his driver’s license on him, footage shows, but did have a U.S. passport and a Waukegan police ID.

Ramirez attempted a breathalyzer a few times, the video shows. When the sample finally took, Kelly looked at the device and asked Ramirez if he could call for a ride.

“I hate to give the guy — He blew a 0.17,” an accompanying officer said in a phone call with dispatch, in audio obtained by the News-Sun. “We’re not going to give him a break if he’s claiming to be an officer and he’s not an officer anymore.”

Libertyville police called the Waukegan station to confirm that Ramirez was in fact an officer. When they confirmed it, they let him call an Uber home and parked his car for him, according to the News-Sun.

Ramirez was not charged, the News-Sun reports. His punishment consisted of a 40-hour unpaid suspension. Libertyville Officer Kelly was found not to have violated policies, but should be further trained.

Read the whole story here:  https://patch.com/illinois/vernonhills/s/gj3c4/libertyville-pd-let-waukegan-cop-off-the-hook-after-dui-report?utm_term=article-slot-1&utm_source=newsletter-daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

Little Women reality show star sentenced to 16 years for DUI crash

melissa-hancock-1

Melissa Hancock, the former television reality star of Little Women Atlanta, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the drunk driving crash that took the life of Coast Guardsman Petty Officer Second Class Daniel Dill.

According to reports, Hancock drove into oncoming traffic and had a BAC of 0.19, over twice the legal limit.

Actor Pooch Hall charged with DUI, letting his 2 year old son take wheel

pooch hall

From TMZ:

“Ray Donovan” actor Marion “Pooch” Hall was arrested Wednesday night for DUI and felony child endangerment, after allegedly letting his 2-year-old son drive because he was too wasted to steer.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, Hall, who plays Daryll, was driving in Burbank at around 7:30 PM when witnesses called 911 after seeing the toddler in his lap holding the steering wheel.

We’re told the witnesses were horrified to watch the car veer off and smash into a parked car. Thankfully, there were no injuries. One eyewitness tells us he saw the child crying in the front seat. The eyewitness says he looked in the window and the car seat was just laying among the junk in the back seat. It was not installed.

We’re told when police came they smelled a strong odor of alcohol and Hall could barely walk. His blood alcohol level … .25 — more than 3 times the legal limit.

Hall was cuffed and taken to jail, where he remains on $100,000 bail.

As for his son … he was released into his wife’s custody.