CHICAGO, IL – Progressive and liberal politicians have touted the use of electronic monitoring as a way to have defendants await trial at their homes as opposed to jails.
While this may sound great in theory, there are many examples of how electronic monitoring of defendants has failed.
— Spot News (@SPOTNEWSonIG) January 13, 2022
The State of Illinois enacted two new laws in terms of electronic monitoring during the wake of criminal justice reform. Probably the most bizarre one has to do with when an alleged criminal on electronic monitoring can be considered absconded.
In Illinois, defendants on electronic monitoring have up to 48 hours to be away from their homes without authorization before they can be considered absconded.
That means that the defendant, in theory, could have a two-day head start on law enforcement as they attempt to evade jail.
Another newly enacted law allows criminals who are on electronic monitoring to leave their homes, where they are supposed to be confined, twice per week.
The leave is supposedly geared toward allowing the alleged criminals to go to the store or complete other routine endeavors.
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) January 11, 2022
While to some, electronic monitoring sounds good, even with the new laws listed above, opponents point to several different examples of when alleged criminals on electronic monitoring have gone on to commit new crimes.
One example occurred recently when Chicago Police were patrolling on January 12th when they saw a vehicle run a stop sign.
As officers moved in, the suspect, later identified as Xavier Davison, exited the car and attempted to walk away. Officers moved in and looked inside the car he was driving and saw a gun in plain view.
Officers learned that Davison was on electronic monitoring while awaiting an attempted murder trial that occurred in December of 2018. Additionally, Davison is a convicted felon which means that he is not allowed to possess a firearm for any reason.
Davison went in front of Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz for his new alleged crimes and violation of the terms of his release.
Judge Ortiz ordered Davison be remanded into custody without bail for violating the terms of his release for the attempted murder charge. However, Judge Ortiz set bail at $200,000 for Davison on the new gun charge.
Another example of a policy failure in terms of electronic monitoring occurred on January 14th while members of the Chicago Police Department were investigating several package thefts on the 1000 block of North Riverwalk.
Residents in the area had reported an increase in packages being stolen off of their front porches and agreed to let the Chicago Police Department place dummy packages in attempts to capture the thieves.
It did not take long before Lamont Ott allegedly took the bait and tried to steal the dummy package.
Officers moved in as Ott threw the packages and attempted to flee the area on foot. Officers were faster than Ott and were able to take him into custody for felony theft and misdemeanor trespassing.
Cook County has about 2,600 people free on electronic monitoring, of which 75- 80% have been charged with a violent offense.
— KHQA News (@KHQA) January 11, 2022
When officers researched Ott’s name, they learned that he had been arrested and placed on electronic monitoring in July of 2020 for allegedly burglarizing a business.
Additionally, he violated the terms of his release and was re-arrested in November of 2020.
Cook County prosecutors eventually were forced to charge Ott with escape, but instead of keeping him in jail, the judge decided to release him again on electronic monitoring in January of 2021. Both of the previous cases are still pending trial.
Ott has numerous felony convictions on his record for stealing cars, thefts, and burglaries. Additionally, he had been adjudicated as delinquent as a juvenile for burglary and robbery.
Ott appeared in front of Judge Maryam Ahmad who ordered him to be held without bail for violating the terms of his release on the burglary and escape charges.
For the new law violations, Judge Ahmad ordered a $2,000 bond as well as electronic monitoring…again…if he can be released.
CHICAGO, IL – A man in Chicago, who was on release for illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, was released on electronic monitoring in December of 2021.
In January, roughly four weeks later, he was arrested again – this time for weapons and drug charges.
Jorge Aguilar was court-ordered to remain in his residence and wear a GPS monitor after his arrest for being a convicted felon and possessing a firearm.
It seems that his break from bail and opportunity to stay out of trouble while on his electronic monitor did little good when he was arrested again in January.
Officers with the Chicago Police Department received a notification on January 6th from a program called ShotSpotter which is designed to detect gunshots in specific areas and dispatch police before someone calls 911.
As officers got into the area where gunfire was reported by the program, they located a vehicle and Aguilar alleged reclined in the driver’s seat with the engine running.
Officers ordered Aguilar out of the vehicle for safety reasons while investigating the possible shooting that was reported by the program.
When Aguilar exited the vehicle, they allegedly observed a firearm on the driver’s floorboard. A check of the gun showed that it was stolen and loaded.
Chicago Police searched Aguilar’s car and allegedly located a Tupperware container behind the armrest in the backseat, well within his reach. Inside of the container was a white powder that tested positive for cocaine.
In addition to the items found, police allegedly also discovered $3,700 in cash in the glove compartment which is suspected to be from drug transactions.
Officers took Aguilar into custody and charged him with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and possession of a controlled substance.
When the case was presented in front of Cook County Judge Maryam Ahmad, instead of releasing him again on a GPS monitor with no bail, the bond was set at $150,000 for his new law violations.
Aguilar’s most recent troubles started in March of 2021 when Chicago police officers observed him allegedly smoking a marijuana cigarette while driving a vehicle on the West Side.
When officers stopped the vehicle, they discovered the marijuana cigarette along with a loaded handgun and a half-gram of suspected methamphetamine.
Officers checked Aguilar’s status and learned that he had been a convicted felon since 2013.
Because he was a convicted felon, police charged him with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and two drug charges for marijuana and methamphetamine.
Instead of keeping him in jail pending a court date or ordering any type of bail, Aguilar was released on GPS monitoring and ordered to stay in his residence pending any further court dates.
For some reason, Cook County prosecutors violated his bond in December and he was brought in front of Cook County Judge Neera Walsh who ordered him to pay $1,500 and go back to electronic monitoring.
This is just one of many reasons why Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David Brown have been requesting Cook County Judges to stop releasing violent and/or armed defendants on electronic monitoring.
Lightfoot alleges the practice makes alleged criminals feel as if there are no consequences for their actions.
Lightfoot believes releasing alleged criminals back onto the street with electronic monitoring or little or no bail causes the citizens in the city to feel unsafe. She said:
“We cannot live in a world where residents of neighborhoods feel like the gangs and the violent, dangerous people have control; where they fear – those residents fear the gangs, and that they think we have lost control. And unfortunately, that is sadly true in too many neighborhoods.”
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