February 2020 Archives

Cash bail system needs urgent reform

Someone who the police have arrested can expect to face a judge for arraignment. The judge will formally read the charges and set bail. If the defendant can come up with the bail money, the court will release him or her from jail until the time of trial arrives. If the person does not have the money or resources to make bail, he or she will likely remain in jail for weeks or longer until the trial.

Racial bias poses a continued threat in criminal cases

Many people in Illinois have raised serious concerns about the continuing impact of racial bias on prosecution, conviction and sentencing in criminal cases. One of the most important areas of study has been implicit bias, when people's decisions are affected by unconscious stereotypes and prejudices. Implicit bias rests on the acceptance of socially propagated stereotypes about a racial group rather than a conscious commitment to racist beliefs. Because it is unconscious, it can be more difficult to prove and challenge successfully. However, when implicit bias goes unchallenged, the cost for defendants of color could be substantial, including longer sentences and a higher likelihood of detention before trial.

Former Illinois state senator enters guilty plea for bribery

Martin Sandoval, a 56-year-old former Illinois state senator, pleaded guilty in late January 2020 to tax fraud and bribery charges. He has admitted to taking $250,000 in bribes from a local red-light cameral company as well as other individuals and their business interests. As part of the plea agreement, he also admitted to having his accountant underreport his earnings to the Internal Revenue Service from 2012 to 2017.

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