Thursday, November 11, 2010

DNA Tests Casts Doubt On Texas Man Who Was Executed

Claude Howard Jones was executed in Texas on December 7, 2000.  He had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death largely on a single strand of hair recovered from the crime scene.  Testimony at his trial was that microscopic tests identified the hair as Jones' and he was sentenced to death.  One day before his execution, his attorney petitioned then Texas Governor George Bush for a 30 day reprieve so that the single strand of hair could be subjected to DNA testing.  Governor Bush denied the request based on the recommendations of his staff lawyer, who apparently made no mention of the DNA test to Bush.  Today, a DNA test of the hair requested by the Texas Observer and the New York based Innocence Project has revealed that the hair did not belong to Jones but matched the robbery victim.  While the test does not prove that Jones was innocent, it also did not implicate Jones.  This new test raises troubling questions about the case and begs the question about whether an innocent man was put to death in Texas.  Other than the hair evidence, there was one witness who testified that Jones resembled the man he saw enter the store where the murder occurred.  

Claude Howard Jones proclaimed his innocence to the very end.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

Chicago Police Change Requirements For Applicants

The Chicago Police Department has announced that they are changing the requirements for applicants.  A written exam will be held on December 11, the first in four years. The minimum age for an applicant has been raised from 21 to 25 in an effort to attract more mature applicants. They are also requiring that at least 20 percent of applicants picked for each class will be military veterans, provided that enough military veterans apply for positions.  If an applicant was a member of the armed forces for at least three years in a row, or one year of active duty with at least 30 hours of college credit, they can apply for a position even if they are as young as 21 years old.  All other applicants must be at least 25 years old and have completed at least 60 semester hours of college.  This new age requirement is in conflict with the police departments cadet program which allows people as young as 17 and 21 years old to work with police officers to learn how to do the job.  They will now have to wait until they are at least 25 years old before applying for a position with the Chicago Police Department.  The current city budget provides for the hiring of two new classes of recruits.  Each class includes 75 to 100 new hires.  The City is planning on hiring about 200 more officers next year.  The department is currently about 2,300 officers short of authorized strength.  A result of a more than two year hiring slowdown.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

Libertyville Red Light Camera Revenue Falls Below Expectations

The town of Libertyville reports that the revenue that they expected to receive from their red light cameras has fallen far below the original estimates.  Last May, Libertyville installed cameras at four intersections, Route 45 and Peterson Road, Milwaukee Avenue and Artaius Parkway, Milwaukee Avenue and Route 137 and Peterson Road and Butterfield Road.  As of the end of October, a total of 1,030 citations were issued at all four intersections.  Each citation carries a $100 fine.  $70 of the fine goes to Libertyville and $30 goes to the private company, Gatso-USA.  706 tickets have been paid, 324 remain outstanding and only nine tickets have gone to an administrative hearing.  The revenue from the tickets issued is expected to be $716,000 short of the amount that had been expected to be generated.  Apparently, drivers in Libertyville have gotten the message that red light cameras are installed at these intersections and are being careful not to get caught.  Also, the town does not issue tickets for right turn on red lights, a major source of red light ticket in other towns.  The town does not consider those to even be violations and specifically excludes these from their contract with Gatso-USA.  This may be a big reason why revenues have fallen short of expectations.  Libertyville will re-evaluate the use of cameras a year after they were installed.  The results will also be reviewed by the Illinois Department of Transportation which may order that they cameras be removed since they are all located on state roads.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at www.thelegaldefenders. com or call us anytime at 1-8--228-7295.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicago Crime Rate Continues To Decline

For the 22nd consecutive month, the crime rate in Chicago declined in almost every major category.  There is an outside chance that 2010 could see the lowest murder rate in modern history.  From January to October of this year, there had been 379 murders.  This is 9 fewer than the same time period in 2009.  The 2010 murder rate is keeping pace with the 2007 murder rate.  In 2007, there were 435 murders.  This was the lowest figure since 1965.  If the murder rate stays low in November and December, the 2010 figures could beat the 2007 figures.  In 1965 there were only 395 murders.  It is highly unlikely that 2010's figures will beat the 1965 numbers.  These new figures reflect a continuing steady decline in the murder rate in the past 15 years.  There was a huge jump in the murder rate in the early 90's, but there have not been more than 500 murders in the past six years.  Roughly 55 percent of murders were gang related.  This is why the Chicago Police have been focusing their attention on dealing with gangs.  The number of criminal sexual assaults were down 7.6 percent, robberies were down 11.6 percent and aggravated assaults dropped 12.2 percent.  

The good news about the murder rate doesn't change the fact that out of all major U.S. cities, Chicago has the second highest per capita murder rate.  In 2009, there were 16 murders per 100,000 people.  Los Angeles had 8 out of 100,000 and New York had fewer than six out of 100,000.  Philadelphia is in first place.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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