Thursday, October 30, 2014

C.L. PD denies FOIA request for AR-15 theft

In a grand statement of stone-walling, the Crystal Lake Police Department has denied this week's request for the theft report of an AR-15 rifle from a vehicle believed to be owned by, or in control of, a McHenry County Sheriff's Department corrections officer.

And they didn't just deny part of the report, they denied all of it.

I had asked the Crystal Lake Police Department for certain information about the theft; in particular, was the rifle the property of the corrections officer (or did it possibly belong to someone else or even to the McHenry County Sheriff's Department?) Also, I asked if the rifle was capable of being fired in the fully-automatic mode. And how many magazines were stolen? And were they loaded? And what equipment, if any, such as a bulletproof vest or helmet, was stolen?

Why did I ask about the fully-automatic mode? If the rifle happened to be the property of MCSO, it could have been modified. And if it was the property of MCSO, then you can bet another FOIA request would be generated to MCSO.

Why did the Crystal Lake Police deny my FOIA request?

Well, they think that confirming the theft of an AR-15 might interfere with a pending or contemplated law enforcement proceeding.

Or that it might "unavoidably" (my quotation marks) disclose the identity of a confidential source or identity of persons who file complaints.

Since when is the victim of a theft protected?

And disclosure might obstruct or interfere with an active or ongoing criminal investigation.

Can you believe that nonsense?

Could it be that the Crystal Lake Police Department has not heard of redacting very limited information of the type that concerns them? Then they could provide the report, such as date, time, location of theft, and the basic information collected by the investigating officer(s). What's the big secret about a rifle being stolen from a convertible, after the top was sliced - if that is what happened?

And exactly what is wrong with releasing the name of the owner of the vehicle that was broken into?

Unless somebody is playing the hokey-pokey...

Let's see ... the address of the Public Access Bureau at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General is ...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Election Day - one week away

For the first time in recent voting history in McHenry County, voters are going to have a real chance to have a say-so in the race for Sheriff.

The incumbent is out. His hand-picked successor is out.

The past 17 years have shown voters and residents of McHenry County what happens when you have a "cop" in charge of the Sheriff's Department. It is virtually impossible to remove a sheriff from this elected office. Nygren had the dubious title of Cell Phone Sheriff, because of the amount of time he spent away from his office.

If you don't know by now whether you are going to vote for Jim Harrison or Bill Prim, now is the time to decide. Do not decide by default. Do not decide that the choice is too complicated.

Spend time on the websites of each. Read what has been printed in the Northwest Herald and in The Woodstock Independent (Oct. 22-28 edition, Page 15). Go and meet each. Call them.

Why wouldn't Bill Prim debate Jim Harrison? Voters would have benefited from being able to sit in front of them and hear their own words. And it would have been even better to have a debate, not a watered-down, milk-toast "forum".

Wouldn't it have been great to hear them go after each other in public in a no-holds-barred debate? Had there been a real debate, who would have come out on top?

What if McHenry County had a sheriff like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio or Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr.?

Here's a great quote from Sheriff Clarke's official website: "There is nothing so foolish as to do more efficiently something that should no longer be done."

Which candidate in the race for McHenry County Sheriff will do that?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Must Sheriff have public confidence?

Cal Skinner published a l-o-n-g outpouring by Mickey Schuch about the importance of getting out to vote. Mickey is a Woodstock businessman, a high-quality craftsman (visit his website), firearms aficionado, president of the McHenry County Right to Carry Association and strong supporter of Sheriff's candidate Bill Prim.

Mickey also had a little run-in with the Crystal Lake Police Department in November, 2000, which resulted in felony charges that were bargained down to misdemeanor pleas.

One commentor to Cal's article ("butseriouslynow" on 10/25/14 at 12:06pm) wrote, in part, "Who I feel for are the great local police officers who arrested Schuch and his gang having him paraded around in front of them by the guy who may very well be our next Sheriff in the weeks after local deputies were shot."

I believe he is referring to the recent Chiefs of Police luncheon, when retired police officer Bill Prim invited Mickey Schuch to accompany him, as he has to numerous other political and civic gathering in the run-up to the election on November 4.

What message was Bill Prim clearly sending to the police chiefs (and officers) of McHenry County by his thoughtless invitation?

What does it mean for the sheriff of a county to instill and hold the confidence of the public he serves?

This question assumes that the sheriff actually cares about that confidence, once he is in office.

Now we come to the election of November 2014. On candidate Jim Harrison's website is a tab labeled Public Confidence. I recommend that you read the writings below that tab. Here is a paragraph close to the end of it.

Public Office = Public Confidence
"The Sheriff must instill public confidence in the Sheriff’s Office from the first day in office until the last. The Sheriff must refrain from conduct that would bring disrepute on the Sheriff’s Office or that would damage public confidence. The Sheriff must be honest and trustworthy so that public confidence can deepen and grow. The Sheriff must work every day to demonstrate the highest level of integrity, leadership, and independence as an elected public official. With your help, I will be that Sheriff."

As the head of the County's law-enforcement agency, the sheriff must use good judgment in every case.
Was that decision one of good judgment?

Chicago Tribune - Harrison for Sheriff!

The Chicago Tribune has announced its endorsement of Jim Harrison for McHenry County Sheriff. Click on the link to read the full endorsement.

The important part follows.

McHenry County
Sheriff: "... Harrison, a former McHenry County sheriff's deputy, has an impressive legal resume. He has also given great thought to how to run an office that is efficient and free of politics — in short, an office that focuses solely on crime and responding to citizens. After all the battling in law enforcement circles in McHenry, Harrison would be a welcome change and he is endorsed."

Election Day is coming up one week from Tuesday.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Have dog; will ride

Do you ride a motorcycle or know someone who does? How about someone with a motorcycle and a sidecar? And a dog?

A new documentary has just been released, titled Sit Stay Ride: the Story of America's Sidecar Dogs. The project had been publicized on Kickstarter, and it exceeded its fundraising goal. The result is fantastic.

Eric Ristau and Geneva Liimatta, of Missoula, Montana, traveled from coast-to-coast, interviewing and photographing people and dogs with their motorcycles and sidecars.

I encourage you to purchase this $18.50 DVD from  Watch the trailer on the website. You'll enjoy it yourself, and it will make a wonderful holiday gift.

(No, I don't get any royalties...)

Michael Romano case dragging in McHenry County court

Remember the name Michael Romano from this blog back in January and February. No, you probably don't. Romano had been arrested on January 14 in Las Vegas, on a McHenry County warrant charging him with the 2006 murder of his parents. In my article on January 29 I wondered aloud whether McHenry County was becoming the new Guantanamo.

Romano waived extradition and could have been quickly picked up and returned to McHenry County. Instead, he was kept in jail in Las Vegas until William J. Ross was ready to go. Ross is also now accused of murder. Both men were transported on a prisoner bus, with the cross-country journey beginning on about February 3 and arriving in Woodstock on February 13.

What did it cost McHenry County to transport two men by prisoner bus for the 1,730 miles from Las Vegas to Woodstock. $1.00/mile?

Now comes the part of the story with which many are familiar. Court delays. Romano's case  (14CF000022) has had 2014 court dates, as follows:

Feb. 13 Rights
Feb. 18 Arraignment
Mar. 13, Apr. 29, June 4, July 25, Sept. 4, Sept. 25, Oct. 23. Continued - Defendant's request. Romano is represented by the McHenry County Public Defender's Office.

A person with knowledge of this case has provided some information to me, including that Romano may have been able to meet with his public defender-attorney only once to discuss his case. On court dates they would discuss only procedural issues with him and nothing germain to his actual case.

In April Romano signed a release, authorizing the Public Defender to contact the attorney whom Romano had used in 2006. Only recently did they do so. That information is crucial to his defense, but he is having a hard time conferring with his appointed attorney.

Romano apparently cannot even learn the Coroner's information about the time of death of his parents, for which he may have a verifiable alibi. 
Supposedly, the prioner van was even involved in a crash on an icy roadway, and Romano was injured in the crash.

Is this case one of "lock him up and throw away the key"? How many others are like it?

Does the McHenry County Jail maintain a spreadsheet showing the number of days each inmate has been incarcerated? 

Why do the judges tolerate excuse after excuse from defense attorneys, whether public or private, and grant Continuances merely upon request and without explanation or accountability?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ex-sheriff charged

The former sheriff of Lancaster County, South Carolina has been charged with "breach of trust with fraudulent intent," after state troopers found a 40 cal. Glock handgun and a laptop left over from his Mr. Sheriff days, which ended in 2008. It seems he should have turned in that equipment when he left office.

When the keys to the office at 2200 N. Seminary are turned over on December 1, 2014, how much equipment will be unaccounted for? Any?

Will the new sheriff be smart enough to order an inventory of all MCSO equipment? Vehicles, trailers, snowmobiles, firearms, badges, patches, uniforms, laptops, desktops, printers, etc., etc., etc.? Don't forget snowmobiles.

The current administration ought to know where each and every item is. Each piece of equipment should be on a list and either have a name in the issued column or be on the shelf at the office.

Want to bet on that?

Nygren and Zinke ought to make that inventory before November 30. Will they? Nygren's name has been on the door for about 17 years. That's a lot of time for equipment to "grow legs" and take a walk. How much of it did?

Did you hear? About Cisner's stolen AR-15?

Did you read that article in the Northwest Herald about the AR-15 that was stolen from MCSO Corrections Officer Cisner's car?

You didn't?

I didn't, either.  Any idea why not?

Why wouldn't MCSO issue a press release about a stolen AR-15? Especially one that was stolen from the vehicle of a Corrections Officer? But maybe that's why.

So, if you hear, "Psst, buddy. Wanna buy an AR-15?", pay attention. It might be a cool weapon. It might also be a hot weapon.

Was it really in view? Was it left in Cisner's convertible where it could be seen?

If it was, has MCSO ordered a pysch evaluation for CO Cisner?

What capacity magazine was with it? More than one magazine? Was the magazine loaded? To capacity? Was the weapon loaded with one round in the chamber? Was it in a case?

My understanding is that this theft is not being talked about at MCSO. There are certain topics that are off-limits for water-cooler conversations, and this seems to be one of them.

What if the theft had been publicized the very next day, including a photo of the car and the address where it was parked? Think there might have been at least some chance that a passerby might have taken notice and remember some detail?

Keep in mind that a corrections officer is not a law-enforcement officer. He is not a deputy or police officer. (Unless maybe he has been over to Kirkland (Ill.) and has been issued one of those badges that are fairly easily handed out by the Chief?

Cisner's loss is somewhere between $400 and $1,000. Who done it?

Monday, October 20, 2014

What will "they" say about you?

Here it comes.

Watch carefully in the case against Scott Peters, who is accused of shooting two McHenry County Sheriff's Department deputies.

According to the Northwest Herald, McHenry County prosecutors (name the prosecutors!) say that Peters has a history of being "anti-government" and "anti-police."

This ought to be enough to scare the bejesus out of about any citizen. Just imagine being arrested. When they start cleaning the skeletons out of your closets, will you be labeled "anti-government" and/or "anti-police"?

Have you ever griped about Obama's policies? Or Rahm Emanuel's? Or the McHenry County Board's?

Have you ever complained about militarization of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department? Or said anything bad about Nygren or Zinke or about any of the bad apples at MCSD? Or even of the waste at little ol' Spring Grove PD? Does that make you "anti-police"?

Will you be labeled "anti-government" or "anti-police"?

What are the "court records" that indicate Peters' such history? Are these "records" merely the documents that are filed in the current case? Or is there something substantial from his past that makes the foundation for the statements?

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." Do not let the McHenry County State's Attorney Office get away with this kind of nonsense, even in such a serious case as this!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

NWH endorses Prim - sort of

The Northwest Herald  announced its endorsement of Bill Prim for Sheriff of McHenry, but the wording of its "endorsement" certainly lacked any punch. Read it here, before they change it.

Before saying anything about Prim's qualifications (beyond the statutory ones), the paper's editorial staff, assuming that's who writes "Our View" and endorsed Prim in the column published this morning at 5:30am, the article said, "Harrison is an intelligent attorney who has extensive experience in employment law"

The editorial board mentioned "concerns" about two of Prim's campaign supporters, referring to run-ins with the law and "a great deal of unnecessary nastiness associated with Prim’s primary campaign against Zinke."

It then mentions State's Attorney Lou Bianchi and then the need for checks and balances. Could a tight relationship with the State's Attorney actually mean fewer checks and balances on the Sheriff's Department? 

And then it ends with "We endorse Prim", leaving me to wonder whether they really do.

Why Good People Should Be Armed

You may find this 13-minute video well worth watching. I did.

There were many good "sound bites" in it, but I won't repeat them.

For more information, check out

MCSD illegal entry quickly "old news"

What do McHenry County Sheriff's candidates Jim Harrison and Bill Prim have to say about the illegal entry by MCSD deputies into the Crystal Lake home of Pete Sonneville on October 6?

The homeowner had stopped by his residence for lunch and a shower. Somebody (a neighbor?) called the cops, and three deputies entered the house.

Fortunately, Sonneville had locked his bedroom door. (Who does that?) What would you have done, if you had heard voices in the hall and someone identifying himself as police. Called 9-1-1? Armed yourself before opening the door? Sonneville could have ended up dead in his own bedroom.

Steve Stanek wrote a Letter to the Editor that was published October 17 with the title "Reckless actions". It drew 26 comments.

So, what would Bill Prim say about the entry by the deputies?

Would his words mimic those of Sgt. Tadelman and Det. Popovits?

What would Harrison, who teaches Constitutional Law, say about that entry?

Voters should find out before November 4.

WANTED: Legally Sane

I'm looking for a copy of Legally Sane, by Jon K. Hahn and Harold C. McKenney.

Do anyone have a copy or know someone with a copy?

The book was published in about 1972 by Henry Rengery Company, according to, and is out-of-print.

There must be copies around McHenry County, and I would be pleased to be allowed to borrow one, with its return promised. I'll pay for Insured shipment both ways.

I did get a good lead a year ago from a Crystal Lake attorney, and the person I contacted said he'd try to find his copy. Is there another copy available?


Saturday, October 18, 2014

USA under attack - by Barack Obama

Watch this video from the National Rifle Association

See what our neighbors, albeit far away from McHenry County, Ill., have to say. Imagine living in south or west Texas, in Arizona, in New Mexico. Just because you might "feel safe" in Illinois is not the reason to ignore what is going on.

Watch Janet Napolitano's absolutely stunning, and stupid, statement. The woman was clueless. Except she wasn't "clueless." She was lying. Then watch her put down a U.S. Senator. And he let her get away with it, instead of rising to his feet, striding to the front of the room, and putting her in her place. Kind of makes you sick, right?

Harrison endorsed by Daily Herald for Sheriff

Independent candidate for McHenry County Sheriff has been endorsed by the Daily Herald. You can read the full article here.

The Daily Herald editorial board summed up its endorsement in the final paragraph:

"But the position of sheriff is more than just that of a top cop. A sheriff sets policy, prepares and executes multimillion-dollar budgets, deals with complicated labor issues and more. For those duties, we believe Harrison, with his more well-rounded resume, business experience and legal background, holds an edge. We endorse Harrison."

Friday, October 17, 2014

NWH endorses Chirikos

The Northwest Herald has endorsed McHenry County Board incumbent Nick Chirikos for re-election in County Board District 1 race.

I met Nick several years ago, and he's one of the good guys. Not only that, he has a nice motorcycle. Even though he never offered to let me ride it, I still like Nick.

Vote for Nick!

Injured deputies named

The Chicago Tribune identifies the two McHenry County Sheriff's Department deputies injured Thursday morning as Dwight Maness and Khalia Satkiewicz.

See the 7:46AM article at

NWH denies comments, allows tweets

Is the Northwest Herald going down a swirling drain?

What's up with the tweets by reporters and the absent of a reader Comment box after the local story of the year?

Dumb, really dumb.

Maybe this is the wave of the future. Stories, followed by reporters' tweets re-telling parts of the story and praising their co-workers.

Nygren's dumb statements in Peters case

According to the current version of the Peters story in the Northwest Herald, the three deputies (originally reported as two) who went to the Peters' house at 1:30am Thursday were responding to a "domestic dispute at Peters' home." That's a far cry from a "well-being check".

If there were such a thing as an investigative reporter covering this story, you'd think they would have demanded a correct story right from the beginning. Instead, reporters sopped up what was spewed out by the mouthpiece for the Sheriff's Department, and Nygren stayed out of sight and didn't talk to reporters. Otherwise, one of them might have asked who the injured deputies were and would have reported any evasive answer by the Sheriff's Department spokesperson or Sheriff.

Don't reporters know any deputies whom they could ask for the names of the injured deputies? Were deputies told not to reveal the names? Why? It's not like the deputies were targeted by Peters.

I'm also interested if they got shot "through the door", as was earlier reported. The shooting should be reinacted (well, not the "shooting") in order to determine whether they walked up to and stood in front of the door. Maybe the findings will keep deputies from being hit by shots fired "through the door" in the future.

Back to Nygren's dumb statements:

1. "The day ends on a positive note," Nygren said at a press conference Thursday night. "The neighbors who live in Holiday Hills can return to their homes, knowing that this incident is over and their community is safe again."

... and everyone lived happily ever after.

I corresponded with a neighbor of Peters whose house was searched by deputies. How about a little legal research into whether deputies have any right to enter houses and search, unless they have a solid reason to believe that a suspect is in that particular house? If they request and receive permission from the person in charge of the property, certainly. Go right in. But, do they have any right to enter, absent freely-given permission?

If you tell them "Peters isn't in here and you aren't coming in", what would happen?

Nygren's next SWAG (you know what that means, right? Simple Wild-Assed Guess ...)

2. "Obviously, he was not in plain sight," Nygren said. "We had aerial searches, ground searches, grid searches in that [Holiday Hills] area and didn't come up with him. I think it's safe to say he was secreted somewhere in the immediate area."

What Nygren is saying is that someone hid Peters in the immediate area. Nygren didn't say "Peters secreted himself." The only true part of Nygren's statement is that the "searches ... didn't come up with him." Nygren's guesses are worthless. And "secreted"?

And 3. "As the officers approached, Peters allegedly shot and wounded two unidentified deputies while a third returned fire and provided cover, Nygren said."

"Allegedly"? Huh?

No, Keith, the deputies aren't "unidentified", unless you don't know who they are. Obviously, you do. What's true is that their identities have not yet been released by the Department.

Is there anyone at MCSD who knows how to give a professional-sounding, law-enforcement statement to the press?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cocaine user booted from Navy


A U.S. Navy reserve officer was kicked out of the Navy after he tested positive for cocaine. Big deal, eh?

As it turns out, it is a big deal.

The guy is Vice-President Joe Biden's son. He was just commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy last year. But get this. He is 44 years old!

When do most people go into the Navy? Wouldn't after college be the usual step? Why was Hunter Biden commissioned as an Ensign in May 2013?

What do you suppose the whole story is about his connection with the Navy?

Who are the injured deputies?

What possible value could there be in not identifying the two McHenry County Sheriff's Department deputies who were shot this morning by Scott B. Peters, of Holiday Hills, Ill.?

Sheriff Nygren said Peters has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, according to the Northwest Herald. Yet the paper wimps out by saying that Peters "allegedly sho" the two deputies.

Really? They must be really scared that Peters will hire a big-name attorney and sue the paper for libel.

But back to the issue. Who was injured? And why is the Sheriff refusing to name them?

McHenry County is a relatively small area, and many people will likely know the two deputies and want to extend wishes for their recovery and provide support for their families. What's the secret?

Facebook photos

A reader has alerted me to good, local photos of the Holiday (that's with one -l- in Holiday, NWH) Hills shooting scene.

Go to Facebook, and then to "You Know You're From McHenry If ...", or click here. You'll have to join the Group, in order to see the photos.

Thanks to the reader for this tip.

Rifle stolen from car - newsworthy?

If my car had been broken into and an AR-15 stolen from it, do you think there would be a story in the Northwest Herald about it?

Would I have filed a report with the local law-enforcement agency (McHenry County Sheriff's Department, if the theft occurred in the County), if a rifle had been stolen from my vehicle? You bet. And would the Northwest Herald have publicized it? You bet.

Did the Corrections Officer file a theft report with his employer, the McHenry County Sheriff's Department?

Is he, or are they, interested in quickly finding that rifle? Was it an AR-15? Had it been converted to fire in the fully-automatic mode?

Why isn't the Northwest Herald reporting on this theft, as it would on any other weapons theft?

Was it his personally-owned rifle? Was it purchased to be used in connection with any duties related to his employment? Is he a CERT officer with the Jail? CERT = Community Emergency Response Team. These are the black-shirt guys that accompany certain inmates to court.

Why would they need or have AR-15s for work-related duties, if they do? And, if they do use such personally-owned weapons on official duties, what liability is there for the Sheriff's Department and for the County of McHenry?

Is regular practice required at the range? Who pays for the ammo at, probably $1.00/bullet?

What's the rest of the story here?

"Well-being check"? Oh, really!

Why is this serious incident being minimized by the McHenry County Sheriff's Department?

A "well-being check"? Anyone else believe that one?

Two people (family members?) escape from the house? Who called? What did callers tell the Sheriff's Department?

Isn't a well-being check when deputies go to the door of someone who might be ill and who hasn't been seen for some period of time? For example, when a relative or friend can't be reached and there is concern about the person's health?

Was this call-for-service that? Or was it different?

A good way to find out is for the Northwest Herald to request the Sheriff's Department's recording of the incoming call and the radio traffic (or computer records) of dispatching deputies to the address.Was it a 9-1-1 call?

It's no longer sufficient to take the word of the Sheriff or the Undersheriff about anything. Get the facts. More information surfaces every day about the times when they have withheld information or "shaded" it to their advantage.

Two deputies are injured, and the MCSD puts their mouthpiece (Dep. Aimee Knop) out in front of the microphones? Where is Nygren? Did he fly out yesterday after court? Where is Zinke?

Speaking of Nygren and court, be sure to read First Electric Newspaper a little later today for an interesting story about Nygren and yesterday's court and last Sunday's theft of a rifle from a vehicle of an MCSD corrections officer.

2 deputies shot in Holiday Hills

CBS Chicago is reporting that two deputies were shot in Holiday Hills about 1:30am. CBS got a statement from MCSD media deputy Aimee Knop and reported at 5:45am.

At 7:20am the Northwest Herald still had nothing on its website.

One deputy, according to a news article on the CBS website, is in critical but stable condition and the second is reported to be in stable condition.

Let's hope for the best with both deputies. Sit down right now and focus healing energy on them.

Thanks to the reader who called me about this.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stolen, vandalized election signs

Why do small-minded people vandalize or steal a candidate's election signs? Are they really so afraid that the candidate will win and the sky will fall?

I have heard from more than one candidate whose signs are disappearing from the highways and byways of McHenry County. Some candidates struggle to place them where laws allow; others just put them anywhere and everywhere, knowing (or at least believing) that no roads or highway department (State, County City, Township) will spend the money to remove them.

But there are small-minded people out there, tearing down 4x4 signs and removing the smaller signs.

Is there any correlation between the large number of signs for some candidates and the people who are tearing down others' signs?

If you drive by a sign and see someone furtively moving around the sign in the dark of night, call the nearest law enforcement agency. Try to get a license plate number of a car or truck nearby and be able to describe the person or people you see. These people are criminals. I would recommend against direct contact or involvement.

If you can watch from a safe distance and report the departure of the vandals, do that. Tell the cops which way they went. Follow at your own risk.

And remember to vote for the guy whose signs you don't see. That'll show the thieves who is boss.

Random inspections - ever?

Does the McHenry County Sheriff's Department ever conduct random, surprise inspections of Department-issued equipment?

MCSD issues a variety of equipment - some of it, really heavy-duty tactical equipment (ex., high-powered, fully-automatic firearms) - to deputies and, I suspect, an even more awesome list of equipment to SWAT team members.

With a huge shift in control rapidly approaching on December 1 (when a new Sheriff comes to town), this is the perfect time to get out the lists of issued equipment and inspect it and account for it. Or it could be the worst time.

If equipment is missing and unaccounted for, it would be a huge black mark on Nygren's "legacy". Undersheriff Zinke has been running the show for the past couple of years, while Nygren dusts off the furniture in his Cape Coral, Fla. and Minocqua, Wisc. homes.

Now comes the dilemma. Does the present administration (Nygren/Zinke) identify what's missing, or do they do nothing and wait for the new Sheriff to order an inventory?

An up-to-date inventory shouldn't be all that hard. Surely, they know who has what. Or do they?

Monday, October 13, 2014

MCSD AR-15 on the loose?

Rumor has it that a fully-loaded, fully-automatic AR-15 was stolen from a McHenry County Sheriff's Department deputy's personal vehicle yesterday.

So, just how many questions does this raise?

1. Why would a SWAT team member have a Department automatic weapon in her (his?) personal vehicle? Doesn't the deputy have a take-home squad car?

2. Who leaves a Department firearm in a convertible, where a top can be sliced and the trunk opened by a release latch inside the vehicle?

3. Was the firearm visible in the vehicle?

4. How much ammunition was with it and taken?

5. If the deputy was attending a post- or pre-game party where alcohol was served and drinking any alcoholic beverage, that SWAT team member was ineligible to respond to any SWAT call-out. Right? So why have the weapon in the personal car?

Note: Aren't deputies forbidden by General Orders from driving a County squad car after consuming any alcoholic beverage?

You'd better belief that MCSD is trying to keep this quiet. Other shifts may not have been informed at this time. Why not???

Sunday, October 12, 2014

You be da judge

Do politicians get favors in court? I can't answer; can you?

In 2005 Tina Hill got a ticket in Woodstock for illegal stopping, standing, parking (625 ILCS 1303), and there is an interesting court record in Judge Chmiel's court.

1/25/05 Charged by Woodstock PD
2/8/05 $75.00 fine, court costs, fees (this is before McHenry County figured out how to really screw over drivers with excessive court costs and fees; now those costs and fees would probably come close to $200, on top of the $75 fine.)
3/4/05 Motion to vacate. (Who attempts to get a $75 fine thrown out?) The motion was vacated, then reinstated, with a Notice to report disposition. (?)

3/4/05 A $60.00 total fine, including court costs and fees, is shown in the court record. Plus one-day supervision. ONE WHOLE DAY. WHOOPIE.
3/4/05 Supervision was terminated.

Who gets ONE DAY of Supervision?

And was $60.00 the revised, lower fine, court costs and fees? Or was it added to the $75.00?

Tina was represented by the law firm of Gummerson Rausch Lee Wand et al.

Who gets the highest-priced law firm in Woodstock for a $75 ticket???

Two other tickets got her 100-days' supervisions and, in another case, no supervision.

DownHill for Tina - car towed?

Tina Hill has indicated she will enter a month-long rehab at Rosecrance. Is this a strong decision/ commitment to recovery or a good defense?

What will the hospital blood tests show? Alcohol? Will B.A.C. results be released before trial?

Or prescribed drugs? Within therapeutic range? Will she blame her driving on medications?

Where was she Thursday night until 1:30am? Was she alone in the car?

Woodstock has an unpopular, and strongly enforced, Vehicle Impoundment ordinance. Was her vehicle impounded?

Was she alone in the car? Was an unimpaired, licensed driver allowed to drive it away? Was she permitted to call someone to come and get the car? If so, that's a privilege not accorded to most, if any, others.

How does impoundment work? Police call a local towing company. It comes to the scene and hauls away your car. Police issue an impoundment ticket with a $500 fine. To get your car back, you fork over a $500 bond, or else your car sits in the impoundment lot, racking up daily charges. About 10% of the owners forfeit their vehicles, because they cannot afford the ticket, towing, and storage charges.

You can contest the $500 impound ticket. You can win, if you have a trial on the DUI charge and are found Not Guilty. Getting the ticket bargained down or dismissed does not get your $500 back. You must have a trial and you must be found Not Guilty. In the meantime, your $500 bond sits in Woodstock's coffers.

Don't blame that one on Judge Eterno in the Woodstock Administrative Adjudication Court. His hands are tied. You can blame that one on the Woodstock City Council and its legal advisor.

The Woodstock Police were quick to charge her with DUI. Will it stick?

Friday, October 10, 2014

County Board Chair busted

McHenry County Board Chairwoman Tina Hill was busted for alleged DUI early this morning. Early? About 1:40am.

Woodstock Police nabbed her in the 1000 block of N. Seminary, which would be about Donovan Avenue.

Read all about it in the Northwest Herald. The newspaper didn't report on it until 11:50am, but surely they must have known about it earlier. After all, what are tips for?

Where was she until the late hour on a Thursday night? And who was in the car with her (or had been)? Anyone else wondering?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Come on, groups! Debate or forum?

In about one month, McHenry County voters will have the chance to change the face, look and feel of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. On Tuesday, November 4, voters will go to the polls (hopefully) and cast their votes.

Why aren't important groups in McHenry County clamoring for debates between candidates Jim Harrison and Bill Prim?

What groups could sponsor debates?

The Northwest Herald
The McHenry County League of Women Voters
The Bull Valley Garden Club
Area chapters of Kiwanis, Rotary and other service clubs
Community groups from all corners of McHenry County
PTAs from the school districts
Patriots United
The Tea Party

The Northwest Herald and the League tried to set up something. Sort of.

Here's what they could have done ... they could have set a date and told the two candidates - "This is when and where it will be. Be there. Or else."

If a candidate didn't show up, leave an empty chair for him. Address key questions to the Empty Chair and to the candidate who did show up. Let the attendees come to their own conclusion why the absent candidate didn't show up.

Sponsor debates between these two all over McHenry County.

And, for crying out loud, have debates, not the wimpy "forums" that the League likes to sponsor. Allow rough-and-tumble questions and answers. Stop "playing nice".

Why won't Bill Prim debate Jim Harrison? Why didn't it take him about two seconds to ditch whatever other plans he had for October 8? Does he think he can hide out and stay out of the spotlight and hope no one will hold it against him?

Call up Bill Prim now and ask him why he won't debate Jim Harrison. Post his answers in comments below this article.

How's your memory? Try "Baartz"

Did you read The Woodstock Advocate on August 2, 2011?

Remember this article?

Inmate plays Get Out of Jail Free card

"How would you like this deal?

"Get arrested in Woodstock on a felony drug charge, have a prior drug record and get a judge to let you walk out of McHenry County Court (and Jail) on a P.R. bond.

"This is exactly what happened in court on August 1 in Case No. 11CF000558, involving the Woodstock Police Department, the McHenry County State's Attorney's office and James A. Baartz, 38, of Woodstock. ..."

It was Judge Sharon Prather who was so kind to Baartz on August 1, 2011.

Baartz is in the news again. The Daily Herald reports that he was arrested in a "... two-year federal drug investigation (that) resulted in the seizure of nearly $5 million, almost 220 pounds of heroin and cocaine and charges against 22 people, including several from the Chicago suburbs."

My thanks to the reader with the excellent memory who remembered the August 2011 article.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Harrison continues Prim exposè

The Northwest Herald continues to expose the Bill Prim campaign with material about Prim supporters. See today's article by reporter Chelsea McDougall, in which Prim campaign supporter Mickey Schuch's escapade of almost 14 years ago comes back to haunt him.

Three felony charges in November 2000 and some misdemeanors were bargained down between November 2000 and August 2001, and former Judge Ward Arnold approved the deal, resulting in a large fine and court costs and probation. Schuch's defense attorney firm was Campion Curran Lamb and Cunabaugh. No doubt they earned their fee by avoiding a felony conviction for their client.

According to the Northwest Herald article, "Prim called out Harrison's campaign rhetoric as 'KGB tactics.'" I don't remember much of the Russian history that I studied 50 years ago, but I don't see the relationship between the KGB and Jim Harrison's revelations.

It seems to me that Jim is calling into question whether Prim asked any questions of the supporters who are prominent in his campaign.

Who's next?

Watch 20/20 this Friday (Oct. 3)

You'll want to tune into 20/20 this Friday, October 3, when it airs the segment about Shane Lamb and the Mario Casciaro case.

Now, why would 20/20 take an interest in a little, ol' case in McHenry County, Illinois?

Check your local listings for the time and channel. Hint: 20/20 is on ABC-TV.

Guess I'll miss it, since I'm still a hold-out. No TV for six years. Love it!

Is Mick Combs still at work?

If you read the Affidavit filed in Shane Lamb's recanting of testimony in Mario Casciaro's trial, you have to wonder whether Mick Combs is still at work in the office of the McHenry County State's Attorney.

If you haven't read it, read it.

Mick Combs has been the State's Attorney's Chief of the Criminal Division.

Shane Lamb makes some strong accusations against Combs. It seems to me that, at the very least, Lou Bianchi should give Combs some time off while this gets sorted out. A paid Administrative Leave? Are the charges serious enough for an Unpaid Leave? And, if Combs is vindicated, then he gets his job and pay back.

Can any part of what Lamb says be believed? Casciaro's attorney accused Lamb of "lying about lying about lying".

Should the accusations be investigated by an outside, independent entity?