Tag Archives: Jim Williams

Judge Who Brought Gun To Court To Remain Off Bench

CHICAGO (CBS)–A veteran Cook County Judge has been stripped from the bench and placed on administrative duty pending further notice from an executive committee.

Judge Joseph Claps was seen on surveillance video July 3 at the Criminal Courts building at 26th and California as a gun he was carrying under his jacket slipped out and fell to the floor.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams was at the courthouse Wednesday, where he examined how the Judge was able to carry a gun inside.

Cook County Criminal Courts

Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California in Chicago (Credit: CBS)

Legal analyst for CBS Irv Miller tells Williams that judges are exempt from metal detectors used to screen other people streaming into the building. A private entrance allows them access to the building from their designated parking area.

“No metal detectors. No metal detectors for them. They have a clear shot right into the building,” Miller said.

Even though officials say Claps has a firearm owner’s identification (FOID) card and a concealed carry license, Cook County judges aren’t allowed to brings guns into the courthouse. He is changed with a misdemeanor.

Miller previously worked with Judge Claps in the state’s attorney’s office.

“Even though he may be a friend of mine, I still would be critical I’d he wasn’t good,” Miller said. “But he is–he’s a very good judge.”

judge Judge Who Brought Gun To Court To Remain Off Bench

Judge Joseph Claps was seen on surveillance video July 3 at the Criminal Courts building at 26th and California as a gun he was carrying under his jacket slipped out and fell to the floor.

Regardless of the side of the bench someone is sitting on, guns and court don’t mix in Cook County.

A deadly courthouse shooting at the Daley Center 35 years ago prompted security increases at courthouses across the county. Eyewitnesses in a divorce court hearing reported seeing 54-year-old Hutchie Moore stand up from his wheelchair and pull out a gun from a blanket before shooting Henry A. Gentile and attorney James Piszczor, 34.

Moore was convicted of the two murders and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Also in 1983, a man walked into a judge’s chambers and held a group of attorneys hostage for nearly nine hours.

Judge Clap was first put on administrative duty on July 5, and the executive committee’s decision Wednesday means his administrative status will continue.

Man Back In Custody After Being Accidentally Released

CHICAGO (CBS) —  He’s back in custody. On Thursday afternoon police arrested Shane Sleeper. He’s accused of threatening violence at gay nightclubs in Chicago. Two days ago, he was accidentally released from Cook County Jail. CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports. It was the result a communications snafu. Shane Sleeper was arrested Thursday afternoon in the 4800 block of North Clark. Authorities said he was at the home an acquaintance. The manhunt was launched after Sleeper was released from Cook County Jail on Tuesday, even though he had no bail. “It happens because you’re dealing with human beings who are making mistakes,” said CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller. Somehow the jail didn’t know Sleeper was charged with several felonies, for allegedly threatening mass violence against a gay nightclub in Lakeview. “It was originally designated as a misdemeanor. The misdemeanor case was dropped. That’s what the jail thought happened so they released him,” said Miller. No one is taking responsibility for the mistake. Not the Cook County State’s Attorney Office, nor the jail, nor the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Miller says such an error is alarming and it’s happened before. “When you have a mistake, when you have somebody who’s potential dangerous that could be released from jail out into the public, it’s serious stuff,” said Miller. “They have to remedy it. It’s been going on for years.”

CPS Budget ‘A Breath Of Fresh Air,’ Adding $64 Million For Schools

CHICAGO (CBS) — “A breath of fresh air.” That’s what Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson called the new budget for the district. Public schools will get an additional $64 million in funding for next school year; making principals, teachers, and parents happy. However, as CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports the long-term financial health of the system is far from rosy. Vanessa Rue is on the local school council at Belding Elementary School, and has two children there. She knows the budget stress of years past. “You didn’t know what else to cut. Like everything was just so barebones, and I think it’s starting feel like we have a little more breathing room,” she said. Now, Jackson has $64 million dollars in additional money for the 2018-19 academic year, thanks in large part to a change in the education funding formula passed by the Illinois General Assembly. “This is a good time to be the leader of Chicago Public Schools, because our financial situation is much stronger than it was two years ago,” she said. As she discussed next year’s budget for schools, Jackson was surrounded by principals who said they’ll be able add staff and create new programs. “I also received four additional positions from the office of access and enrollment; which really helps with STEM coaches and the engineering coaches and the technology coaches that I have in my building,” said STEM Magnet Academy principal Dr. Maria J McManus. Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a non-partisan government budget watchdog group, said the new CPS budget is cause for happiness, but not long-term cheer. Msall said CPS still has structural financial problems, and no guarantee Springfield will continue to come up with more funding when the state has its own budget woes. “We have to see what Springfield does, how it addresses its problems, whether it tries to push those down on the Chicago Public Schools or other school districts,” he said. Schools with low-income students will see more funds under the new CPS budget, and some schools will hire more special education teachers. Because principals and local school councils are getting the budget earlier than in years past, they’ll also be able to do a better job of planning for next school year.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Proposes Two Waterfront City Plan

CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing a new plan to develop more of the Chicago riverfront. He says Chicago is a two water-front city with Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. O’Brien’s Riverwalk Café located along the river is preparing to re-open in early May. Caitlin O’Brien’s family restaurant is expecting business to be booming again this year. “It’s exceeded our expectations. Every year it gets busier and busier,” explains O’Brien. The section of the riverfront from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Street has been successful in attracting people. Many people dine, drink, walk around, and listen to live music. “The river was mentally and physically essentially walled off from the rest of the city,” says Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Today, the walls have begun to come down and the river is a place Chicago comes together.” The Mayor is planning to double the size of publicly accessible areas along the Chicago River, expanding from 5.5 miles to 11 miles along both the north and south branches. One of the mayor’s projects includes creating a river-run to connect Irving Park, North Center, and Avondale. “We’re connecting three parks, one bridge two miles long,” explains Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We’re looking for more people swimming,” says Margaret Frisbie, the Executive Director of Friends of the River. “It’s cleaner all the time. We’ve made some really big improvements in the last three years.” For the Mayor’s vision to come into fruition, he will have to get approval from City Council in order to acquire some pieces of property.

Man Accused Of Defrauding Seniors Wants Out Of Jail

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s back to jail, at least for now, for a man accused of defrauding more than 100 Chicago seniors. CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports a federal judge hasn’t yet decided if Mark Diamond should be released on bond. Barbara Bailey’s mother was a victim. She says she wants the man responsible to stay in jail. “If Mr. Diamond is out, he can still go into the neighborhood or contact people to still scheme and defraud people,” says Bailey. Mark Diamond is accused of stealing from 120 seniors by convincing them to take out reverse mortgages, then pocketing millions in equity. He has been in custody for more than a year. His attorney argues Diamond should be eligible for bond. “He’s 61-years-old with no criminal background,” says Diamond’s attorney James Tunick. “He’s made attempts to rectify some of his wrongdoings. Just like any defendant he should be entitled to a bond.” In court, Tunick said Diamond is transitioning from male to female and was abused by other inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Later outside of court, Tunick said Diamond is actually not transitioning but is still suffering in custody. He is now at the Livingston County Jail. Diamond is getting little sympathy from family members of his alleged victims. “I don’t wish bad on anyone but I was abused too,” says Bailey. “So maybe he should feel like I feel.” Diamond’s attorney suggested in court that his client be confined to his mother’s home under electronic monitoring with no access to a computer. Prosecutors argue lawsuits filed 15 years ago did not stop Diamond from committing more fraud. A judge is now considering a request for bond.

Sox Home Opener Comes With Cold Weather

CHICAGO (CBS) — Nothing says “play ball” like winter coats and a few flurries. Today is one of the coldest home openers ever for the Chicago White Sox. CBS 2’s Jim William reports from Guaranteed Rate Field on what fans have to say about tailgating in cold weather. Nevertheless Sox fans are excited about being at the game. “This is my Christmas. I love Sox home opening day,” says White Sox fan Jason Caprigno. “It’s baseball, my favorite sport. The White Sox are my favorite team.” The chill is bit more bearable when you compare this Sox opening day to years past. “Today is nice. Last year and the year before when it was snowing  that’s cold,” remembers Lindsey Burkamp, The tailgaters were out in big numbers hours before game time. Including Sox fan Ramon Gomez who worked on a smorgasbord of meats for his tailgating crew. “Some beef short ribs, some skirt steak. I personally season them over night, let them marinate overnight,” says Gomez. “It’s a tradition. We do it every year.” What’s new this year, inside the stadium and every other major league ballpark, protective screens extending to the end of the dugouts. A shield between screaming line drives and fans. A warm moment before the game was when Grace Bauer, the daughter of slain Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer, brought the game ball to the pitcher’s mound. A tribute to the commander who lived a short distance from the ballpark.

50 Years After King’s Death, Jackson Says ‘You’ve Got To Keep Fighting’

CHICAGO (CBS) — Fifty years after he witnessed the assassination of his friend and mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the pain is still raw for Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. In April 1968, Jackson was only 24 years old, living in Chicago, when he and other King aides were summoned to the civil rights leader’s home in Atlanta. King was in a grave mood, under attack for criticizing the war in Vietnam, and even taking heat from other African American leaders. Jackson said King told them he’d been suffering a migraine for three days. “’Maybe I could just quit. Maybe I’ve done as much as I can do in 13 years,’” he recalled King telling him. “’Maybe I could just fast to the point of death.’” First, however, King went to Memphis to rally support for striking sanitation workers. Jackson said King was in no mood to speak on the night of April 3, but found the energy to give what turned out to be his last speech. “I’m not fearing any man, Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,” King said. What captured Jackson’s attention was the sight of other ministers crying. “Ministers and funeral directors don’t cry very much,” he said. The next day, April 4, at the Lorraine Motel, King teased Jackson about his casual attire before dinner. “I said ‘Doc, the prerequisite for eating is appetite, not attire.’ He said, ‘You crazy.’ He laughed,” Jackson said. Moments later, as King, Jackson, and others stood on the balcony, King was felled by an assassin’s bullet. “Pow. He raised up. Bullet hit him in the center of his tie, and he backed against the wall, and he was just out of it,” Jackson said. When he saw his friend and mentor bleeding to death, Jackson was “traumatized.” “I was full of pain, and anger, and sorrow, and desperation, and many emotions at the same time,” he said. Just after King’s assassination, Jackson told reporters, “To some extent, Dr. King has been a buffer for the last few years between the white community and the black community. The white people do not know it, but the white people’s best friend is dead.” Fifty years later, Jackson said the pain is still raw. “Every time the scab comes off, the wound is fresh again,” he said. However, King’s death did not diminish Jackson’s resolve to carry on the fight for civil rights. “We cannot let one bullet kill the whole movement,” he said. “If you play in the big game, and the best player gets hurt, you can’t forfeit the game. You can’t run away. You’ve got to keep fighting.” Jackson said he’s certain King would mourn the level of poverty in the United States today.

Pfleger To Deliver Keynote Speech On 50th Anniversary Of Rev. King’s Death

CHICAGO (CBS) — Fifty years ago tomorrow, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis; thousands of people are traveling to Tennessee to mark the sad anniversary, including a prominent Chicago priest.

Rev. Michael Pfleger has a task he calls “intimidating.” He was invited to be the final speaker at a ceremony honoring Rev. King at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, at the former Lorraine Motel where King was slain outside his hotel room on April 4, 1968.

“I speak up until 6:01, the moment he was killed, and then they’re going to have the bell ringing,” Pfleger said.

At first, Pfleger wanted to decline the invitation to speak.

“It is intimidating, and it’s frightening,” he said. “I’ve been to that room twice, and both times just wept.”

T0 fully understand why, you have to go back to 1966, when King spent most of the year living in Chicago, protesting racial segregation and discrimination in housing, education, and employment practices.

During an open housing march in the Marquette Park neighborhood, a teenage Pfleger saw his neighbors respond viciously to King’s protest.

“The hate, the racism, the taunting; they’re trying to turn over cars and start them on fire. I mean, throwing the rocks, throwing bottles,” he said.

Despite the violent response, King remained calm.

“I remember saying ‘This man is either really crazy, or he’s got some kind of power,’” Pfleger said.

King became Pfleger’s hero.

On April 4, 1968, while in college, Pfleger saw U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy deliver the awful news of King’s assassination on television.

“I remember going into the church on the West Side of Chicago that I was working at the time, Precious Blood, and going in the sanctuary, and just crying like a baby; because this was my hero. This was my mentor. This was my vision of what I wanted to do with my life, and now what?” Pfleger said.

He determined the answer was to become a pastor himself. That path led him to St. Sabina Church, where Pfleger has been an activist who frequently speaks out about violent crime, discrimination, and education.

“People say to me today ‘Why are you a priest today?’ I say, ‘Because of Martin Luther King Jr.,’” Pfleger said.

On the spot where King was slain, Pfleger is set to give perhaps the speech of his life on Wednesday.

“It’s so overwhelming to think at that moment on that balcony, speaking. I hope I can hold it together,” he said.

Pfleger is close to the King family. He said King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, called Pfleger “her son.”


Many other Chicago area residents will head to Memphis to mark the somber anniversary of King’s assassination.

About 50 people boarded buses in Matteson on Tuesday to head south.

Trip organizer Maureen Forte said everyone from millennials to senior citizens were going to be part of the historic day.

“We have black, white, Hispanic. We’ve all unified together to make this delegation very powerful. We’re speaking. This is a movement, it’s not a moment. Today is a movement. So it’s a powerful day,” she said.

Organizers in Tennessee have said they expect more than 15,000 people to attend events marking the anniversary of King’s death.

Goodman Using Ibsen Play To Test The Waters Of Science In Theater

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s not something you expect to see at a theater, but the Goodman has set up a science lab to help high school students understand its latest production; a classic that has relevance today. Before the curtain rose on the Goodman Theatre’s production of a Henrik Ibsen classic An Enemy Of The People, students from Community Links High School performed experiments with water to find out if it was clean or contaminated; and how to purify it. “We don’t do a lot of that at school. So, to do it on a field trip and see a play is like two field trips,” Moses Ruiz said. In An Enemy of the People, the lead character, Dr. Thomas Stockmann, tries to warn his fellow citizens their water has been polluted by industry. The students who conducted the water experiments with Goodman’s education program Stage Chemistry also saw the play. “We wanted them to understand the issues of environmental justice in ways that you understand better, because you get your hands dirty as opposed to just talking about the issues in class,” said Goodman director of education Willa Taylor. Ibsen wrote An Enemy of the People more than 100 years ago, but it resonates today in places like Flint, Michigan, where drinking water has had high levels of lead for nearly four years. “They walk in with all these thoughts about not only what it means for water to be clean or dirty, but also thinking about what water means in our city,” said Anna Gelman, who runs the Stage Chemistry education program at Goodman. In Ibsen’s play, Dr. Stockmann ultimately failes to convince his town to clean up their water, but the students in the Stage Chemistry program praised the character’s courage. “It shows other people, if you have something to say or you want to change something, go for it,” Juliana Hirales said. The Stage Chemistry program at the Goodman explores science, technology and mathematics in theatrical productions.

Chicago Serves Up Professional Tennis This Fall

CHICAGO (CBS) — This September when the baseball season is winding down and the football season is just starting, Chicago will host another big sports event. A team tennis tournament at the United Center. Some legends of the sport came to town for a preview. CBS 2’s Jim Williams was there. The court was small. The weather a bit chilly. But tennis royalty joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to make the announcement. “A great city that embraces with big shoulders  a great event,” says Emanuel. The Laver Cup, named for the legendary Ron Laver is coming to Chicago in late September at the United Center. It’s team tennis. Europeans against the rest of the world. “I’m very excited to be here in Chicago for the very first time,” says Roger Federer, winner of 20 Grand Slam events. He’ll play for the Europeans. “We had deep-dish pizza so we’re warm on the inside,” says Federer. “I love seeing The Bean finally in person. Standing in front of it is actually very cool.” John McEnroe, who won his last tournament in Chicago, will coach. “It’s great to be in this tremendous city of Chicago,” says McEnroe. “Almost as great as New York. I had to say that, I’m sorry.” The mayor says he pushed hard to lure the event here. “I made that call every 28 seconds,” says Emanuel. Federer, the number one male player in the world, and a big force behind the event, said he wanted to be here because of Chicago’s rich sports history. “Michael Jordan, Scotty Pippen, that was a big deal for me,” says Federer. “I’ve never been to Chicago before so I always wanted to experience the city and play tennis here once before I retire so all the stars aligned and here we are.” The top ranked Australian player Nick Kyegios sat next to Federer. The Laver Cup is September 21-23. Tickets go on sale Friday.