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Clark Perry Baldwin was arrested just recently for his apparent ties to three murders of women in the 1990s. DNA evidence also tied Baldwin to a rape in Texas. Baldwin is accused of scouring America for women to rape and then murder. Most of the victims’ bodies were recovered in Wyoming and Tennessee.

Iowa police are looking at Baldwin as a likely serial suspect and have begun the process of connecting him to other unsolved slayings. Baldwin was a long-haul trucker, potentially leaving bodies all over the country.

Cold Cases are Getting a Second Look

Criminal justice is a complex issue, and it is no secret that innocent people are convicted every day while guilty ones go free. Furthermore, the role that prisons and prisoner health plays in the process of criminal justice is a controversial one. 

Every prison has a duty to the inmates to ensure that their basic needs are met. This means that they remain healthy, fed, and in a sanitary environment. When prisons cannot do this, they are liable to the families if prisoners die under their watch. Families file wrongful death lawsuits against prisons all the time. While prisoners do not make ideal plaintiffs, the government is not an ideal defendant, either. 

So what happens now that you have a pandemic going on? Well, some of those awaiting trial have already been released to their families (depending on the charges) while others, who are considered low-risk, are also being released.

As we all know, the quarantine has reduced the crime rate quite a bit. In places like Georgia, where the stay-at-home order never really went into effect, some interesting (although infuriating) cases are still being prosecuted. 

A father and son duo is charged with shooting and murdering an unarmed jogger by the name of Ahmed Arbery. Now that the case is in the news, it offers a rare insight into how things operate elsewhere in the country.

The two men charged with Arbery’s murder, Greg and Travis McMichael, appear to have ties to racist organizations like the KKK. However, two prosecutors have recused themselves from the case over ties to the McMichaels and a third stepped down for unknown reasons. McMichael was a former police officer and prosecutorial investigator. 

A University of Illinois student pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after police discovered that he left a noose made out of string in a dorm elevator. 20-year-old Andrew Smith was sentenced to a year of probation

Smith was originally charged with a hate crime, which is a felony. He was also charged with three counts of disorderly conduct, one for each student who was alarmed or disturbed by the noose. 

The charges were reduced and the prosecuting attorney accepted Smith’s guilty plea after he appeared contrite and remorseful. Smith sent a written letter of apology and officers were not able to find anything in his history that would suggest he was part of an organized hate group. 

Yesse Yehuda, the politically-connected head of the FORUM non-profit, has been charged by federal authorities for misappropriating $200,000 in funds earmarked to develop south suburban properties and fund a workplace training program.

Yehuda has been charged with eight counts of bank fraud and seven counts of wire fraud

Where Did the Money Go? 

Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the former Chicago Public School Chief who pleaded guilty to corruption and fraud charges and was sent to federal prison Camp Alderson in West Virginia, has recently been moved to a new facility. The 70-year-old Byrd-Bennett was sent to a residential reentry management facility that oversees halfway houses in Cincinnati.

The Bureau of Prisons confirmed the move but otherwise declined comment on why the move occurred when it did. Camp Alderson had been nicknamed Camp Cupcake after Martha Stewart’s stay there several years ago. 

The Crime

A Chicago-area father is facing charges after his son shot himself in the hand with a household gun. Bernard Shields, 36, of Chicago is facing a felony charge of being a habitual criminal in possession of a weapon with a filed-off serial number. He is also facing a felony count of possession of a controlled substance and several misdemeanor counts related to the discharge of the weapon and child endangerment. 

What Happened?

The parents were asleep when the boy found the gun in one of his father’s pants. Anyone who owns a gun should know better than to keep it in their pants when there are children around. He took the gun to the bathroom, ostensibly to play with it, and the gun discharged, injuring his hand. The child was taken to Children’s Hospital where he was treated for his injuries and then sent home. His father fled the scene knowing that police would be arriving shortly, but was later found and arrested. 

There has been a great deal of discussion recently over the role bail plays in American society. Political pundits who are rallying against bail reform cite instances of re-offense while the suspect is awaiting charges for another crime. Political pundits in favor of bail reform argue that the system is patently unfair and individuals charged with nonviolent crimes rot in jail for a year while the wheels of justice slowly turn.

Now, one charity is being scrutinized by the media after providing bail to inmates who then turned around and offended again.

Habitual Criminal Activity

Two Cook County detainees are being charged with attempted murder after an attack that left one guard hospitalized and two others injured. The attack occurred on April 14 during the height of the coronavirus lockdown. Dante Jeffries and Sharelle Sims were in the jail’s most secure wing. They have been charged with attempted murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery, and possession of contraband. The two will be arraigned on May 5.

What Happened?

A jail officer had allowed Jeffries to leave his cell to get a cup of water. After he got his drink, the prison guard says that Jeffries attacked him from behind and dragged him into his cell. The officer managed to fight his way out of the cell, but Jeffries again attacked him, placing him in a chokehold until he lost consciousness. 

Those who are in prison awaiting trial for crimes for which they have been accused are considered innocent until proven guilty. Yet the law has a vested interest in holding some detainees until trial—especially if they are considered either flight risks or a danger to the community. 

Despite that, one Chicago criminal defense attorney was able to get over a dozen Chicago inmates released amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

Prisons and Jails are Responsible for Inmate Safety

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