Trump tweets plan to ban Transgender people from Military Service

This morning,(now a few days ago) the president went to Twitter to tell the nation that he is planning on banning Transgender people from serving in any capacity for the Military. This would reverse Obama’s decision last year to allow Transgender individuals to openly serve in the military. There are an estimated 15,500 Transgender people currently serving. Laura Law office would like to say we stand with the LGBT+ community and see any ban on Transgender service illegal, discriminatory, and unpatriotic.

Uber CEO Resigns

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A few weeks ago this blog detailed the incredibly disturbing allegations of sexual harassment at Uber, which seems to be symptoms of a male dominated environment that excludes women and doesn’t properly enforce sexual harassment rules. Now this morning,(Edit-now last month) it’s been announced that the embattled CEO Travis Kalanick is stepping down, as detailed in Tom Fishers article in the Chicago tribune. Apparently Kalanick had received a letter Tuesday from investors demanding that he resign. This also comes at a tough personal time for Kalanick as he has recently lost his mother. But as the article details, his fallout from the company was very much his own doing. “The resignation came after a series of costly missteps under Kalanick that damaged Uber’s reputation, including revelations of sexual harassment in its offices, allegations of trade secrets theft and a federal investigation into efforts to mislead local government regulators.” Uber had a quick rise after its conception confronting the taxi service, but these recent missteps of the company have many questioning whether it can adjust and become a mature and stable business. The company recently lost a battle in China to a major ride sharing company, Didi Chuxing, which contributed to Uber posting a $708 million first quarter loss. Kalanick’s leadership style is known as heavily combative which has probably undermined both him and the companies reputation. The article quotes Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen in detailing some of the ways that this combative style alienated investors, customers, and drivers; “The significance of Uber has declined because the company has not managed to present itself in a stable and socially responsible way,” Dudenhoeffer said. “When you’re at war with customers, employees, service suppliers, you can’t build up a business model and Kalanick was at war with everyone.” Dudenhoeffer concluded “There is no business model in being at war.”  Kalanick constantly got in his own way and he and everyone is paying the price.

The biggest issues Uber has though are not economic, (though they may argue that) but involve a lack of ethics and social responsibility as Dudenhoeffer explained. As mentioned before, Uber has been accused of being an unsafe work environment and a former engineer in February wrote a personal essay detailing her year at Uber and the sexual harassment she faced from her manager, who she then reported to human resources. But as Fisher explains, “She reported him to human resources, but was told he would get a lecture and no further punishment because he was a “high performer,” she wrote. This got the boards attention and was a big step towards Kalanick’s downfall. This led to the firing of about 20 people, and an investigation into Uber’s workplace by the Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder’s probe revealed that Uber didn’t even have the most basic policies used to protect employees from sexual harassment.

Another incident which made many question Kalanick further happened when a video surfaced in February showing Kalanick berating a driver who was complaining about his pay. Many drivers feel that Kalanick is exploiting their labor and he has resisted a tipping feature in the app. Kalanick’s parting statement sounded a bit like him trying to make himself into a martyr. “In a statement, the 40-year-old co-founder said his resignation would help Uber go back to building “rather than be distracted with another fight,” an apparent reference to efforts on the board to oust him.” The board though was trying to oust him because he had completely undermined their company. The move is a needed one for Uber who needs to undergo some serious changes if it wants to make itself into a respectable business that isn’t exploitive or unsafe for people. It would especially help if they could integrate women into the company instead of pretty much everyone in power being male. This is an issue with Silicon Valley and many businesses across the country in general.

Revenge is a Dish Best Not Served

Socialmedia-pmAt LauraLaw, we tend to stick to legal news instead of pop culture, but sometimes the two intersect. A few days ago, Robert Kardashian (son of the late Robert Kardashian, Sr., who once represented OJ Simpson) posted nude photographs and explicit images of his ex-fiancé, Blac Chyna, on his Instagram account. The photos were posted without Blac Chyna’s consent to the posting. Instagram eventually removed the images and blocked Kardashian’s account; however, the damage was already done.

At first glance, this appears to be an argument between two feuding exes, but it actually implicates so much more. Although he has not been charged, Kardashian’s actions could constitute “nonconsensual pornography” in the eyes of California law. Nonconsensual pornography, or “revenge porn” as it is commonly called, is a misdemeanor under California Penal Code 647(j)(4). The statute states that, “A person who intentionally distributes the image of the intimate body part or parts of another identifiable person, or an image of the person depicted engaged in an act of sexual intercourse . . . in which the person depicted participates under circumstances in which the persons agree or understand that the image shall remain private, the person distributing the image knows or should know that distribution of the image will cause serious emotional distress, and the person depicted suffers that distress” is guilty of a misdemeanor. In this case, Kardashian posted photographs of intimate body parts of Blac Chyna that she sent to him while they were in a relationship, and were supposed to remain private.

The California nonconsensual pornography law went in to effect to protect victims from this kind of online harassment. Before this law, victims of actions like Kardashian’s had no recourse for having their incredibly private photographs and images displayed across social media. Now, other states have followed California’s lead and enacted similar laws to protect privacy.

In Illinois, posting revenge porn is a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison, restitution, fines of up to $25,000, and costs. 720 ILCS 5/11-23.5 addresses non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images, describing it as the intentional dissemination or an image of another person “(A) who is at least 18 years old; (B) who is identifiable from the image itself or information displayed in connection with the image; and (C) who is engaged in a sexual act or whose intimate parts are exposed, in whole or in part. The statute also criminalizes obtaining the image under circumstances in which a reasonable person would know or understand that the image was to remain private and knows, or should have known that the image was to remain private.”

In this author’s opinion, the bottom line is this: A consenting adult who chooses to share a private sexual image of themselves with another consenting adult should be able to protect those images from public dissemination, and breaching that privacy should be criminalized. It can be humiliating and traumatizing to see such private photographs displayed for public consumption, and especially embarrassing when that public includes family members, friends, colleagues, and employers.

Non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images is a crime, whether the image is shared with a group of friends or 2 million Instagram followers. If you, a friend, or family member find yourself on either side of this situation, contact us at LauraLaw to discuss your legal options.

Out Sick

stethoscope-2359757_960_720No one really plans to be out sick from work – well, unless there is an afternoon Cubs game. Should you actually fall ill, however, and are concerned about missing pay and time from work, you may be in a luck.

A new paid sick leave law is in effect in for employers in Cook County and Chicago. While employees are rejoicing, many Human Resources representatives and providers are calling it an “administrative nightmare.”

These are some of the highlights of the new Cook County and Chicago laws:

  • The new laws in both Cook County and Chicago require almost all employers to allow their workers to accrue an hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked. This applies to all workers, whether full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary.
  • Employers have the option to give their employees the sick leave up front, or have them accrue it.
  • Workers are able to earn 5 paid sick days a year.
  • Workers will be permitted to carry over portions of unused sick time to the following year, which is a departure from many employers’ current sick leave policies.
  • The sick time off can be used for the employee, to care for a family member in cases of domestic violence, illness, injury, or a public health emergency closing a child’s school or family member’s workplace.
  • These laws will help an estimated 40% of private sector workers who do not get any paid sick leave.

As mentioned, these new laws are not without their problems. Many Cook County suburbs have opted out of the county law, creating a headache for employers who have staff in multiple towns. HR departments now have to track each individuals’ paid sick leave carry-over time and requests in addition to their current leave policies. And, if the employee works in multiple towns, this sick leave law will only apply to their work in towns that haven’t opted out. It can be quite confusing.

The Cook County Commission for Human Rights, which is enforcing the ordinance, stated that these new rules are only focused on those who do not currently have sick leave policies. Executive Director Ranjit Hakim said that the commission will help employers come into compliance and that as long as they are doing their best, it will be fine. Essentially, employers have a grace period from the commission; however, they may not have the same reprieve from an employee denied their now-legal paid sick leave.

Frankly, a healthy workplace is a productive one. The actual costs of these ordinances to Cook County and Chicago employers remains to be seen. For now, paid sick leave is the law in Chicago and many surrounding suburbs. If you or a family member think your employer may be in violation of sick-leave laws, give us a call here at LauraLaw.

In the meantime, stay healthy!

 

 

Law Suit claims McHenry County bars should be held responsible for deaths in DUI accident

drunk drivingBack in February, after finishing a Metra Pub Crawl, 28 year old Tyler Stewart got behind the wheel of his car – intoxicated – and crashed into a sedan, killing him and the sedan driver Lawrence Madigan. In a story this morning from Chicago Tribune Contact reporter John Keilman, the family of Lawrence Madigan is suing the 3 McHenry Country bars that Tyler and his group stopped at during their crawl. The family believes the bars should be held liable for the death of Madigan because, in their view, the bars are responsible for Stewart’s intoxication because they over-served him. As the family’s lawyer Jennifer Ashley alleges, “He was over served every step of the way.”

The relationship between bartenders/bar establishments and customers is a complicated one, but the establishment and bartenders share a certain responsibility to do their absolute best to make sure people aren’t going to be putting themselves or others in danger in the bar and when they leave the bar. The line between getting drunk with buddies and being over served to the point of dangerous intoxication can be a thin one, but often times there is a point where it becomes fairly easy to determine someone should not be served anymore; but i’m sure many bartenders would argue that there are many times when it’s hard to see this point. There could be further complications, though, that come from the relationship between bar owners and bartenders. In an ideal world, bar owners are putting the highest priority into ensuring safe consumption, but in reality, for a number of bars, it’s likely profit interest is the biggest priority. So bartenders who are responsible and want to ensure safe consumption might not be viewed as ideal employees by certain bar owners and safety takes a backseat priority. *This is speculative and in no way reflects what the policies of the 3 bars in question may be, since I have really no idea, but I’m just trying to establish the possible complications of the issue.* Also, a further complication is that these bars are popular bar crawl locations for the Metra pub crawl, as mentioned earlier. So, being one of these bars, it may be tougher to think of cutting off consumption or ensuring safety when you know the person is going to another bar to get plastered again. But this doesn’t mean bartenders and bar owners should ignore overconsumption as is alleged in this lawsuit.

The relationship of the bars to the pub crawl may also have influenced the bars’ differing reactions to this suit. For example, the bar that’s the first in the Pub crawl lineup may feel like they should be safely distanced from responsibility, while the last bar in the crawl may very much feel they could be in trouble here. This seems evident as Keilaman notes, “One of the bars, Finn McCool’s in Crystal Lake, denied the allegations in court papers, while another, Durty Nellie’s in Palatine, did not respond to a message left by the Tribune. But the owner of the third establishment, Peggy Kinnane’s in Arlington Heights, the alleged starting point of the Feb. 11 pub crawl, said the crash took place hours after the group had left his place, and that the tavern bore no liability.”

Derek Stanley, the owner of Peggy Kinnane’s, states that while knowing his bar is a frequent stop for pub crawls, his staff makes it a priority not to over serve, but that he can’t control customers’ transportation choices as he told the Tribune. “You’re under the assumption that they’re on the train, and at the end, they take a cab or an Uber home,” he said. “Logic would tell you that’s the right thing to do. But unfortunately, not everyone is responsible like that.” So they’re sort of shedding responsibility in a “we can’t control what happens after they leave” way, which is what you’d expect. All of this doesn’t help Lawrence Madigan’s family’s horrible loss and the understandable, and in my opinion, justified anger they hold towards both Stewart and the bar establishments. Lawrence left a real estate meeting with a client, not expecting his life to be claimed from him because of horrible irresponsibility. American culture now thankfully disparages drunk driving, but it also conflictingly somewhat celebrates a culture of alcohol consumption through endorsements, advertisements, tv shows, movies, etc. This isn’t to say drinking is wrong and that you can’t enjoy consuming alcohol while also being responsible, but to say that the beliefs surrounding alcohol in the country are complicated and at times conflict with each other. Bar crawls are one of the most popular forms of suburban entertainment as the article mentions, and why not? It’s a good time with buddies. These are naturally going to lead to consuming a decent amount of alcohol in a not-so-decent of amount of time, and then inevitably people wanting to drive home because they feel they’re fine and are completely confident in their abilities. But of course they’re drunk and certainly not as good as drivers as they think they are in the moment. Even with Ubers around, the same conversations still happen around bars/campuses/campus bars/homes throughout the country. Friends telling one friend they shouldn’t drive home, they’re too intoxicated and they should either call an Uber/Taxi, stay at their place, walk or just whatever not drive option there is. But of course the friend responds; “he’s fine, he has stuff to do the next morning, he can’t stay over, he can’t leave his car here” etc. His ability to function is tied up in it. So the friends relent, even though they know in the back of their mind that this isn’t a good idea.  So he drives off under the influence and if he’s lucky he makes it home, and if he’s not lucky he hurts himself and worse someone else because of his irresponsibility and the inability to stop him.

So how does this get stopped? The police presence outside heavy drinking areas will play its part, but also it’s up to the bars too, to take the safety and responsibility of their customers into the highest priority, which is what the family of Madigan is looking for. His wife, Karaline stated,  “It really, really bothers me it happened the way it did, with all the alcohol that had been consumed in that pub crawl,” she said. “Why didn’t anybody pay attention to this young man? Why didn’t the bars pay attention to this stuff?” Taverns liability caps under the Illinois Dramshop Act are set at $149,000, no small number but also a number that pales in comparison to the tragic loss of life that occurred. But to the family this is about more than the monetary compensation, this is about setting safety and liability precedents so as to hope this doesn’t happen again to others.

The article ended with talking about the Metra’s view on Pub Crawls and the Yard clubs that organize them, “A Metra spokesman said the commuter railroad doesn’t sanction pub crawls or offer any policies on how to conduct them. Scott Presslak of the Yard Social Club, which organizes several suburban train crawls, said the group encourages people to take public transportation to and from the events.Train crawls also are popular among charities. One of them, the Woodfield Area Children’s Organization, posted a flyer online for a fundraising Metra crawl that took place in March. It included a list of rules, ending with this one: “Please don’t drink and drive. Uber, Lyft and taxis are highly encouraged for your trip home.”  I obviously have no easy answers. Maybe an agreement can be made between crawlers and the organizers or the first bar they attend, that car keys have to be given up for the night to be served. Maybe this throws peoples plans into a disarray, especially for the following morning, but maybe that should be part of the trade off if you’re going to be participating in this type of event. Maybe some bars do this, I don’t know but clearly these didn’t or couldn’t. Rest in peace Lawrence Madigan, and Tyler Stewart as well. Both families must be in incredible pain.

Opioid crackdown hurting Chronic pain patients

PainPills-1If you pay at least some attention to news you might have heard about a growing Opioid epidemic hurting the United States. Opioid addiction has surged since the 1990’s, along with fatal overdoses. Many criticisms leveled towards the NFL are about their draconian marijuana policies compared to their well, less than strict opioid policies. Based on these surges there has been a crackdown on doctors and pharmacies prescribing Opioids to their patients, even those who have had their prescription for years. Legal repercussions have increased for Doctors who are considered haphazard in the pills they give out and doctors around the country are beginning to advocate harder for pain relieving methods that aren’t Opioid based. So all good right? Well not quite, according to a recent story from Chicago Tribune Contact Reporter John Keilman. Chronic pain patients who have been prescribed to opioids for a number of years, and are physically dependent on them, feel as though they’re being left behind and unfairly demonized now that desire to stop Opioid addiction is increasing. They feel like they’re being punished for something others are abusing and to be honest I greatly empathize with them. Here’s Jim Watkins, a 59 year old Chicagoan, who suffers from a debilitating pain disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta and has been on treatment opioids for about two decades now. “(Chronic pain patients) are being singled out on a daily basis for something that other people have abused,” he said. “Those of us who have legitimate conditions, why are we being treated differently?”

There is no simple way of dealing with this issue. For legitimately treated pain patients who are physically dependent on them just deciding they can’t have anymore is a decision laden with consequences, not so much for the doctors who refuse to prescribe but for the patients who must suffer in debilitating pain while they have people judge them as if they were “junkies.” “I don’t advertise the fact that I take these medications just because of the way people look on it, like I’m a drug addict,” said a 59-year-old Lincolnwood woman who takes oxymorphone for back pain. “You mention it to someone, and it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re going to die; my cousin’s neighbor’s son died.’ They start connecting it with heroin abuse.”

On the other side a number of Doctors are advocating that Opioids are bad for these patients and don’t relieve pain effectively. Doctor Andrew Koldny states, “They’re stuck on these medicines they feel they can’t live without, and many of them may be right,” he said. “The trick is not to get more people stuck on opioids.”

While it’s fair to say that there were some incredibly shady prescriptions from “pain clinics.” the solution is not to leave millions of legitimate pain patients feeling driven to suicidal lengths.  “There were more than 1,000 pain clinics operating just in Florida around 2011,” said John Temple, a West Virginia University journalism professor whose book, “American Pain,” chronicles the rise and fall of a crooked clinic. “They were all churning out these prescriptions every day. I would say the vast majority were not for legitimate patients but for people who just walked in off the street.” According to the article “OxyContin wasn’t the only painkiller to soak into American culture: Overall opioid prescriptions more than doubled over 20 years, from 112 million in 1992 to 282 million in 2012, while per-capita consumption more than quintupled.”

One factor that is stopping doctors from prescribing according to John Temple, is seeing other doctors being arrested for over prescribing. There is also the fact that it’s become tougher and more expensive to deal with insurance companies when prescribing Opioids which obviously Doctors would like not to deal with. The big problem here is that we are not dealing with people who are faking to get Opioids. We are dealing with legit patients who have been given a drug that 1) may be the only thing that works after trying numerous well documented years of other medications; and 2) a person becomes physically dependent which is different from addiction.

Now those doctors are saying no without any actual solutions for the people who now can’t get their treatment. Some doctors literally just cut off their long term pain patients which is absolutely not the standard of the oath doctors are sworn to. It’s all fine and good to say well these drugs are hurting more than helping them, well ok, what are you actually going to do for these patients now that your taking away this drug besides just leaving them writhing in pain? Sure Acupuncture has been show to be an effective pain treatment but many people can’t afford that and it’s not covered by insurance. Plus that doesn’t make people less physically dependent on the Opioids they had been using for extended period. What then? Just tell them too bad? Is this the compassion we strive for from our medical field? There aren’t easy answers but maybe a place to start would be repealing the CDC guidelines and to also start covering other non opioid pain relief treatments for the people who can’t afford them and are having trouble getting opioids now as well as

I’ll leave off on a quote from 50 year old, Oak Park resident Paula Gianfortune.

“Hurting people who need (opioids) to survive day to day is just so wrong,” she said. “You’re going to have people who are truly in pain resorting to doing illegal drugs, and good people will overdose and die. You’re going to be so desperate to get rid of the pain somehow.”

 

Cook County to Relax Policy on Traffic Offenses

I love how the building support (the pylons) are on the outside.Some shifts in Cook County traffic policy under recently elected States Attorney Kim Foxx will be occurring as detailed by Chicago Tribune contact reporter Megan Crepeau in an article this morning. Certain traffic offenses will now not be prosecuted by the States Attorney’s office, leaving the prosecution decisions to local municipalities. The traffic offenses that will no longer be prosecuted by Cook County involve charges where a person is driving on a suspended or revoked license – where that license has been revoked for financial reasons rather than more serious reasons such as DUI or Reckless Homicide. As Crepeau writes, those financial reasons usually include failure to pay child support, tolls, or parking tickets. This does not mean that those charges will automatically be dropped, but that the individual towns will now have the option of whether they want to pursue them. The reason cited for this change was less ideological and more about a lack of resources, especially man/woman power. This was clear from Crepeau’s interview with Eric Sussman, the first Assistant States Attorney, wherein he said that “the shift represents a reshuffling of increasingly scarce resources, . . . noting that the number of assistant state’s attorneys in the county has plunged in the past 10 years. That means each prosecutor’s caseload far exceeds what experts suggest, . . . citing a recommendation that assistant state’s attorneys handling misdemeanors should have about 400 cases apiece. In Cook County, that number is closer to 5,700.”

Sussman heavily indicates that in working with law enforcement and talking about these changes, they stressed these financial reasons rather than disagreement with the laws themselves. “So far at least, it makes it easier for law enforcement to understand we’re not doing this because we disagree with the law or have a philosophical problem with the way the law is set up,” Sussman said. “I think that a lot of this came as news to a lot of law enforcement agencies that we are as resource-constrained.” However even though it’s clear lack of resources appear to be the big reason here, it should be mentioned that Kim Foxx’s record since taking office has included heavy efforts to change how Illinois deals with low level nonviolent offenders so as to both make sure precious resources are allocated to more important things, and that citizens aren’t severely punished for minor crimes.

The article went over this as well:  “The move comes as State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, elected in November, has pushed in other ways to change how her office handles low-level, nonviolent cases. In December, she dramatically raised the bar for felony charges related to shoplifting. And this week, she said that prosecutors could recommend that judges release non-violent defendants charged with low-level crimes without any cash bail, pending the resolution of their cases.” So there’s no doubt finances are playing a huge role in these new policies but Foxx has also shown a focus to change the way that low level offenders in Chicago are punished in general. Those reasons no doubt include humanitarian ones as well.

Rahm Emanuel in DC to advocate graduation requirement ideas

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Rahm Emanuel’s trip to Washington D.C. was detailed this morning in the Chicago Tribunes “Morning Spin” section. Emanuel is actually giving a speech as I write this billed as “Moving forward in Chicago.” The speeches main purpose is so Emmanuel can advocate his recent idea for education reform: Requiring that High School diploma seekers prove that they have been accepted into a College, military, or “gap year” program before they are given diplomas. The event is being live streamed on the National Press Clubs website, and the events organizers were taking potential questions emailed into Emmanuel until about 9 A.M. that Emanuel will supposedly answer. After this event, Emanuel will head to Montreal for the world congress. There is some controversy over Emanuel’s plan, especially in how it will affect at risk children for who getting into an after high school program might be out of their control. Emanuel’s administration is focused on seeing College graduation among CPS students increase, and that they have a plan for the future. However some education experts question how this will affect not only students but also the City colleges that with this new rule could see large influxes of students who need monetary support to attend. City colleges as it is now have trouble with funding so there will be need to be more hiring and funding.

The Verdict is In: Guilty

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In an unprecedented move, a Massachusetts judge decided that Michelle Carter is guilty of manslaughter in the 2014 suicide of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III. In his decision, Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz said that Michelle admitted that she did not call the police or his parents when he was dying in the truck “and finally, she did not issue a simple additional instruction: Get out of the truck.” Judge Moniz also described Ms. Carter’s conduct as immoral.

First, let’s go over the case. Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy III were dating in 2014; Michelle was 17 and Conrad 18. Like most teenage couples, they texted each other about everything. At some point, though, they started talking about Conrad’s suicidal thoughts. In a series of detailed text messages, Conrad and Michelle discuss when and how Conrad is going to commit suicide. They even talked about getting a portable generator that emitted carbon monoxide, which is eventually how he killed himself. Conrad committed suicide on July 12, 2014 in a parking lot. Later, Michelle’s texts to Conrad encouraging him to do it (“You just need to do it Conrad or I’m gonna get you help” and “if you don’t do it now you’re never gonna do it”) came to light.

There is no question that this was a tragedy for all involved, especially Mr. Roy, his family and friends. However, this brings up a lot of questions that may change the course of criminal liability. Can someone be held legally responsible for someone else’s suicide? If someone knows that another individual plans to commit suicide, or is with them when they choose to do so, what duty do they have to call the police? Should words have been enough to convict Ms. Carter of involuntary manslaughter? The answer, frankly, is yes.

Let’s look at what the law currently says about suicide. Usually, it is considered an act of free will by the individual committing it, and Massachusetts does not have a law against encouraging suicide. However, Judge Moniz said he based his decision on Michelle’s actions after Conrad first got into the car. Conrad called Michelle while he was in the car and told her that he was having doubts. According to the prosecutor, Michelle convinced him to get back into the car and keep going with the suicide. In Judge Moriz’s eyes, Conrad “[broke] that chain of self-causation by exiting the vehicle . . . This court finds that instructing Mr. Roy to get back in the truck constituted wanton and reckless conduct, by Ms. Carter creating situation where there is a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm will result to Mr. Roy.”

Ms. Carter knew Conrad wanted to die. She knew when and she knew how. She spoke to him while he was in the car with the carbon monoxide running and convinced him to get back in, which she knew would probably kill him. Physically she wasn’t present, but mentally and emotionally she was guiding Conrad’s hand the entire time. Her conduct went beyond careless or harsh words to a high school boyfriend. Ms. Roy intentionally encouraged Conrad to commit suicide, knowing how much influence she had. She did not stop him and she did not call for help, even though she had a duty to do so.

From the legal perspective, it will be interesting to see what changes, if any, result from this case. On a personal level, suicide is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. If you, a friend, or a loved one needs help, LauraLaw suggests a few resources:

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

UIC Counseling Center

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

 

 

. . . Community Service?

rooftop-691617_960_720  Chicagoans walking around the Loop might catch a free show when they pass the Metropolitan Correctional Center. If you are walking with children, though, watch out: these shows may not be G-rated.

Across the street, women will stand on the top floor of the parking garage and perform shows for the detainees. The jailhouse audience flickers the lights on and off to show their appreciation. Many of the women are girlfriends or partners of the detainees, and one source said that the detainees themselves arrange the shows to demonstrate their power in jail.
The first question that comes to mind is: Why hasn’t the jail done anything about this? Public indecency, which includes a “lewd exposure of the body” is still a crime in Illinois.

Well, the parking garage is private property and is not owned or controlled by Metropolitan Correctional Center. So, even though the federal Bureau of Prisons is well aware of what is going on, prison authorities cannot do anything beyond reporting the shows to the parking garage owners. And, according to attorneys who work in the nearby Monadnock Building, this has been going on for decades.

To be fair, not all of the shows include nudity or dancing. On some occasions, family and friends of detainees can be seen holding up messages and signs, waving and cheering them on.
Most people opt to visit or send food and other gifts to loved ones in jail, so arranging strip shows on top of garage buildings is unconventional. At LauraLaw, we’d prefer you choose the former but if you find yourself in legal trouble, contact us at LauraLaw to discuss your options.