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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A former southwestern Illinois judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal that included a fellow judge's cocaine death is headed to federal prison for two years.
 
U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade on Friday also fined former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook more than $75,000 on heroin and gun charges. Federal prosecutors had requested an 18-month sentence. Cook's attorney suggested a 6-month term was appropriate.
 
McDade last month rejected a deal between the two sides, calling an agreed-upon prison term of 18 months insufficient.
 
On Friday, the 43-year-old Cook entered an open plea, meaning the judge would decide his sentence.
 
McDade calls the two-year sentence appropriate given the negative affect on the public's confidence in the judiciary.
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois is creating a statewide system to regulate access to firearms by people who have mental health problems.
 
The Department of Human Services unveiled an online database Monday that will be used to compile information about people a professional deems a "clear and present danger" to themselves or others.
 
Human Services Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler says Illinois' new concealed-carry law broadened the requirements of who must report information and kind of details must be shared.
 
Mental health professionals must report people in Illinois who've been declared in court to be mentally disabled, developmentally disabled, or meet qualifications for posing a "clear and present danger."
 
That information is checked against a list of those qualified to own a gun. The Illinois State Police then investigate the matter.
 
Published in Local News

STEELVILLE, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri murder case will hinge on claims of self-defense and whether a property owner had the right to shoot a canoer who may have intruded on his land.

James Crocker had grown weary of the people encroaching on his property along the Meramec River. A nasty confrontation in July ended when Crocker allegedly shot and killed Paul Dart Jr., who was on a canoe trip.

Defense attorney Michael Bert says Crocker is covered by the state's castle doctrine, which allows the use of deadly force to protect property. Bert says Crocker also felt his life was in danger.

Prosecutors cited witnesses who said Crocker flew into a rage and opened fire after a man relieved himself near his yard. He has been charged with second-degree murder.

 

Published in Local News
Tuesday, 03 September 2013 13:23

AG Koster raises concerns over gun-rights bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is raising concerns about legislation attempting to nullify some federal gun-control laws.

Koster sent a letter Tuesday to lawmakers warning that the bill contains "flawed public policy."

The Republican-led Legislature is to meet Sept. 11 to consider overriding Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of the legislation.

Koster, a Democrat, says a federal judge likely would strike down provisions attempting to nullify some federal gun laws and making it a crime for federal agents to enforce them. But Koster says other parts of the measure that could be upheld are troubling.

He says the bill could restrict local police from working cooperatively with federal agents and could allow criminals to sue police who refer gun violations to federal prosecutors.

 
Published in Local News

HIALEAH, Fla. (AP) — Police say a gunman who barricaded himself with hostages inside a South Florida apartment complex has killed six people before being shot to death by a SWAT team.

Sgt. Eddie Rodriguez tells The Associated Press the hours-long standoff began around 6:30 p.m. EDT in a five-story building in Hialeah, just a few miles north of Miami.

He says the bodies of three women and two men were found throughout the apartment complex after police arrived. Another man was killed across the street when the gunman allegedly spotted him and took aim.

Rodriguez says the two hostages the man took were unharmed. Before the shootout, police had been able to communicate with the gunman.

Rodriguez says police were still investigating the motive and identifying the gunman and victims.

Published in National News

   WASHINGTON, DC (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin wants Illinois police departments to use a federal firearms tracing system that can tell investigators the chain of custody of a gun from the manufacturer to the first legal purchaser.

   Durbin says fewer than half of Illinois' more than 800 police departments use the eTrace program of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said Monday he will be introducing legislation creating an incentive for police to use eTrace.

   The legislation would require police departments seeking federal COPS grants to tell the federal government how many crime guns they've recovered. They would have to report how many were submitted to ATF for tracing and why any recovered guns were not submitted.

   COPS grants are designed to encourage the development of community policing programs.

 
Published in Local News
Monday, 15 July 2013 15:21

Shot fired into sleeping child's room

A scary thing to wake up to for one St. Louis woman.

Police say a 3-year-old child was sleeping Sunday morning when someone shot into the child's room. The woman, who is the child's aunt was also asleep in the room. No one was hit and neither the woman or child were woken up by the shot.

When the woman did wake up, she saw the damage and called police. No word on any suspects.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Governor Jay Nixon has signed legislation allowing state employees to keep guns in their vehicles.

Nixon described his signature of the legislation Friday as an expansion of gun rights. But the Democratic governor also vetoed a much broader bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature that would have declared some federal gun control laws void and allowed criminal charges against federal agents who tried to enforce those gun laws.

The bill Nixon signed lets state workers keep guns in their cars while on property owned or leased by the state.

It also allows fire chiefs with concealed-gun permits and special approval to carry weapons on the job.

And it bars governments from running gun-buyback programs unless those guns are later offered for sale or trade to licensed firearm dealers.

Published in Local News

Still no suspects after a 14-year-old was shot outside a North County home last night.

Police say they were called to a home near Lilac and 270 around 10:30 last night. There was a large party taking place at the house. Witnesses said the teen was shot outside the house, but there was no information on who the shooter was.

Police also say they do not know the motive for the attack. The victim is expected to survive.

 

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is meeting with key lawmakers to attempt a compromise on legislation allowing people to carry concealed guns.

Spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon says Cullerton met earlier Wednesday with Senate and House members who have rival, but similar, measures.

Phelon says there are "core compromises" that can be made to create an acceptable plan.

A top Senate committee voted Tuesday to reject a House-approved version that not only allows the public possession of weapons but invalidates all local ordinances on firearms, such as Chicago's assault-weapons ban.

The same committee advanced a plan by Senate Democrats that excludes the pre-emption of local laws and includes tighter restrictions on carrying guns while drinking alcohol.

 

Published in Local News
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