Kane County to end Electronic Home Monitoring

Oddly enough, at the same time that Cook County has been embracing Electronic Home Monitoring as a way to reduce its jail population, Kane County is taking the opposite tack.

From the Daily Herald:

Kane County has begun dismantling its electronic monitoring program that keeps tabs on criminal defendants who are not in jail, after the county board this week preliminarily approved a 2018 budget that cut all funding for the program.

Judges in the felony courtrooms Friday were telling defendants the electronic monitoring is no longer available, even though the new fiscal year doesn’t begin until Dec. 1.

Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles told the board’s judicial and public safety committee Thursday that Court Services is also notifying all program participants, by mail, that they will have a hearing in the next 30 to 45 days to review the conditions of their bonds. Their monitoring devices will be removed at those hearings, she said. By Jan. 1, Court Services hopes to have collected all the monitors and shipped them back to the company that does the monitoring.

Sheriff Don Kramer told the committee he expects as many as 30 of the people could end up being jailed. That would put the jail over capacity, and he would likely have to board inmates at other counties’ jails.

…There are 102 people on electronic home monitoring and 75 on GPS. Of the total, 97 are in the community, and the rest are in jail because they haven’t posted the bond also required in their cases.

Read the entire story here:  http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20171013/kane-county-courts-start-dismantling-electronic-monitoring

As new Cook County bail order goes into effect, Central Bond Court gets revamped

Earlier this summer, Chief Judge Timothy Evans issued General Order 18.8A, which went into effect today for felony cases (it won’t go into effect in misdemeanor cases until January 1, 2018).

The key change is that unless a defendant poses “a  real and present threat” to persons or is unlikely to appear in court, the “presumption [is] that any conditions of release imposed shall be non-monetary in nature, and the court shall impose the least restrictive conditions or combination of conditions necessary to reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant for further court proceedings.”

In order to implement these changes, Judge Evans has swapped out the entire roster of judges who handled Central Bond Court.  He also changed the name — now it will be called the “Pre-Trial Division.”  The new Division will be headed by long-time Felony Judge John Kirby, and assigned to the division will be Sophia Atcherson, Michael R. Clancy, John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr., Mary C. Marubio, Stephanie K. Miller and David R. Navarro.

Here is a link to a story about this change in today’s Chicago Sun-Times.

Mark Ditka flunked a drug screen while on bond. What does it mean for him?

According to the Sun-Times, Mark Ditka, the son of former Chicago Bears player and coach Mike Ditka, tested positive for opiates during a recent drug screen, while he is on bond for an aggravated DUI charge in Lake County, Illinois.

Ditka claims that the positive test was caused by prescription medication.  Judge Brian Hughes gave Ditka two hours to produce the prescription, but Ditka was unable to, claiming that the pharmacy’s computer system was down.  The judge then continued the case until Tuesday to come back to court with proof of his prescription medication.

If Ditka presents the prescription, it is likely that he will be out of hot water for the time being, while he awaits trial.

On the other hand, if he cannot, then he has compounded his problems because the judge will have to assume that Ditka was lying to him.

While on bond for a criminal case, defendants are placed under certain restrictions, including, most importantly, not violating any criminal statutes.  The unexcused failure of a drug test would indicate that Ditka had possessed and used an opiate, which is of course a violation of criminal law.

So if Ditka cannot provide a prescription, what would happen next?  The judge has several options.  He could raise Ditka’s bond, making Ditka pay a higher amount for his freedom while he awaits trial.  Or he could revoke Ditka’s bond entirely, either for a period of time or for the rest of the time until the case is resolved.  Or place him on electronic home monitoring.  The judge could also order additional conditions of bond, such as drug counseling, NA attendance or increased urine testing.

Before posting someone’s bond, be aware of the consequences!

How would you like to have the government take $50,000 of your money because of something someone else did?

A new appellate court opinion was issued last week that might be of interest to the general public. It concerns what can happens to the money put up by a third party to bail someone out.

The case was People v. Pamela Williams, 2012 IL App (2) 111157. According to the opinion, Ms. Williams was charged with multiple counts of theft. She needed $50,000 to bond out of jail. Her brother-in-law, Arwood K. Edwards, was willing to do so, because he believed in Ms. Williams’ innocence.

Before Mr. Edwards could post the bond, a special hearing was held, to ensure that the money being used to post the bond were not obtained as a result of the allegedly fraudulent conduct. During this hearing, it was stated in court that Mr. Edward had been advised that the money that he posted for Ms. Williams’ bond could be used to pay fines, court costs and/or restitution. The Court found that the money was not obtained from the fraud, and Mr. Edwards was allowed to post the bond. When he did so, he signed a form which again stated that the funds could be used for fines, fees, court costs, attorneys fees and/or restitution, or forfeited if the defendant failed to appear in court.

Subsequently, Ms. Williams plead guilty to ten counts of theft, and she was ordered to pay $1,800,000.00 in restitution. Her attorneys filed a motion seeking to have the bond money returned to Mr. Edwards. The State objected, and a hearing was held before a DuPage County judge.

According to the opinion, at the hearing:

The defendant’s attorney read a statement on behalf of Edwards that said that when he posted the
bond the defendant had pleaded not guilty, and Edwards believed that the defendant was innocent.
The statement went on to say that, if Edwards had known that the defendant was guilty, he would
not have provided the bail money. The defendant’s attorney argued that it would be a travesty to take
money from a third party who was not involved in the crimes. He additionally argued that, because
Edwards had recently injured himself and had a severely disabled son, the trial court should consider
these personal circumstances in determining whether equity required exoneration of the bond.
Finally, the defendant’s attorney argued that using the bail money for restitution was not mandatory
and that, under the circumstances, using it would be unfair

Unfortunately for Mr. Edwards, the trial court ruled against him. The court ruled that when Mr. Edwards knowingly posted the bond, he accepted the risks inherent in posting a bond for another person. The court held that it was not obligated to consider the essential fairness of taking Mr. Edwards’ money to pay for Ms. Williams’ crimes.

Mr. Edwards also raised a technical defense, that the Notice to Surety on the bond form did not comport with the requirements under the bond statute, 725 ILCS 5/110-7. The Court agreed that the bond form did not meet the statutory requirements, but that compliance with the statute was not be strictly enforced.

I should also point out that it is becoming commonplace in many jurisdictions for bond money to be used, not only for court costs, fines and restitution on the pending case, but also to pay any outstanding balances on any other cases that the defendant might have in that jurisdiction.

So be warned: if you have a relative or friend who is charged with a crime, and begs you to post his or her bond, you should be prepared to kiss that money goodbye.