Cook County public defender blasts new gun crimes website

CHICAGO — Cook County’s top public defender says a new Chicago Police Department website that provides adult gun-related criminal charges is a “blatant intrusion” of defendants’ privacy and should be removed immediately.

The Chicago Tribune reports Amy Campanelli said Wednesday the website “is another example of police using a list of people who are presumed innocent as a red herring to distract from the real issue of the day: the CPD’s failure to arrest the individuals who are shooters and who continue to wreak havoc in Chicago.”

CPD’s ”Gun Offenders Dashboard” unveiled Monday will track felony gun cases through the county court system and whether those accused of gun offenses were able to post bail. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has long blamed Chicago’s continuing violence on gun offenders who quickly bond out.

Barnes says he hasn’t completed college degree

MADISON, Wis. — Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes says he hasn’t completed his degree at Alabama A&M University.

Barnes tells Isthmus newspaper of Madison that he completed coursework to resolve an incomplete class but never turned it in. He calls it “a small technical thing.

Barnes’ biography on Gov. Tony Evers’ website doesn’t claim that he graduated. Instead, it describes him as an alumnus, which may be someone who only attended a school.

Isthmus said Barnes volunteered the information, and told the newspaper he is working with A&M to finish requirements to graduate.

Barnes’ spokesman, Earl Arms, and an Alabama A&M spokesman didn’t immediately respond to calls or emails seeking comment.

Illinois spending $20 million to encourage complete census count

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois is giving out $20 million in grants to community organizations and local governments to help ensure all residents are counted in the 2020 census.

The count will determine how many congressional seats each state gets, how hundreds of billions of federal dollars are distributed and will be used in drawing new political districts.

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker says his administration is trying to counter attempts by the federal government to undercount immigrant families.

The Justice Department, with President Donald Trump’s support, sought to ask people about their citizenship as part of the 2020 census. Trump abandoned the effort after the Supreme Court blocked it.

Pritzker said Illinois’ census efforts will focus on “hard to count” communities with low response rates in the 2010 census.

Illinois urges emergency planning before school starts

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois officials are encouraging families to make preparing for an emergency part of back-to-school planning.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency recommends making sure emergency contact information is current at the school and to authorize a friend or relative to pick up children in case there is an emergency.

They also suggest teaching children to send quick texts to let family members know they are alright in case phone service goes down in an emergency. They say short and simple texts like, “I’m OK” are more likely to go through than a phone call.

Alicia Tate-Nadeau, the acting director of IEMA, says emergencies can occur at any time of day or night and the start of the school year is a good time to make sure families are prepared.

1 killed, 3 injured in hit-run OWI crash in Madison

MADISON, Wis. — Authorities say one person was killed and three others were hurt in a high-speed, hit-and-run crash caused by a drunken driver in Madison.

Police say the crash happened early Thursday on the east side when a BMW convertible going about 80 to 100 mph rear-ended an SUV. A 71-year-old man in the SUV was killed while his 69-year-old wife was injured.

The State Journal reports the man driving the BMW and two passengers fled on foot after the crash, but the driver and one passenger returned to the scene a short time later.

The BMW driver suffered a broken shoulder and cuts, while his female passenger had minor injuries. The 32-year-old Madison man is facing a number of felonies.

Former Iowa boarding school owner appeals abuse convictions

DES MOINES — The Iowa Supreme Court is considering whether to throw out the conviction of a former Iowa boarding school director found guilty by a jury of sexually and physically abusing a student at the private school he once owned.

Benjamin Trane is serving a nine-year prison sentence for assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of a child by a counselor and child endangerment.

He owned the Midwest Academy in Keokuk, a private, for-profit school that closed in 2016 following a federal raid to investigate abuse allegations.

Trane’s attorney Alfredo Parrish argued to the court Thursday that Trane did not get a fair trial because the judge didn’t allow evidence that would have cast doubt on the credibility of a female student who alleged sexual abuse.

He asked for a new trial.

An assistant attorney general argued the jury’s verdict should stand.

Settlement in the works for Iowa lawsuits over painkiller thefts

DES MOINES — The owner of a Des Moines hospital has decided to settle dozens of lawsuits filed by patients who say they suffered needless pain after a hospital worker stole their painkillers.

Authorities say Victor Van Cleave had worked at Iowa Methodist Medical Center when he used a syringe to steal fentanyl and other painkillers, replacing the liquid with sterile water. He was sentenced in July 2018 to 30 months in prison.

A trial scheduled to begin Aug. 19 was postponed after the judge was informed about a tentative settlement. UnityPoint Health-Des Moines owns the hospital, and a UnityPoint spokeswoman and a lawyer for the plaintiffs confirmed this week that the two sides are working to settle the case.

The Associated Press

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