Correspondent, Chicago
James's Feed
Dec 28, 2012

Tale of two cities: Chicago murder rate spikes, New York falls

CHICAGO/NEW YORK, Dec 28 (Reuters) – In a sharp contrast
between two of the nation’s largest cities, Chicago recorded its
499th murder of 2012 on Thursday night while New York reported
414 murders as of Friday even though it has more than three
times the population, according to police.

Plagued by gang violence, Chicago surpassed last year’s
murder total of 433 in October and is set for the highest rate
of homicide since the third largest U.S. city recorded 512 in
2008. The number is likely to top 500 on the last weekend of the

Dec 27, 2012

Chicago sued for alleged discrimination against black teachers

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Chicago Teachers Union has sued the nation’s third largest school district, saying Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s campaign to reform or close underperforming public schools discriminates against African-American teachers and staff.

The federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday and announced on Thursday is the latest battle with the city since teachers staged a week-long strike in September. It alleges that more than half of the tenured teachers fired in the most recent round of school closings and turnarounds were African American.

Dec 21, 2012

Chicago bandit captured after high-rise prison escape

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The FBI said on Friday it captured one of two bank robbers who escaped this week from a high-rise jail in downtown Chicago by rappelling to the street using a makeshift rope and hailing a cab to get away.

Joseph Jose Banks, 37, was taken into custody without incident late on Thursday night in an apartment complex on the city’s north side, said FBI spokeswoman Joan Hyde.

Dec 19, 2012

Chicago jail escapees hailed a cab to get away: investigators

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Two bank robbers who broke out of a high-rise jail in downtown Chicago hailed a cab and used it as a getaway car after they escaped from the facility, investigators searching for the pair said on Wednesday.

Authorities also announced a $50,000 reward on Wednesday for information leading to the apprehension of the two, identified as Joseph Jose Banks and Kenneth Conley.

Dec 16, 2012

Illinois Democrats leave primary open for Jackson’s House seat

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Democratic ward bosses from Chicago and its suburbs failed on Saturday to endorse a candidate to succeed former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., creating an open primary in February for the vacant Illinois congressional seat.

None of the more than one dozen candidates received enough support from party leaders in the 2nd Congressional District at a meeting on Saturday for the endorsement, which would have given then an edge over others in a potentially crowded field.

Dec 15, 2012

Illinois Democrats to endorse candidate for vacant House seat

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Democratic ward bosses from Chicago neighborhoods and suburban townships are expected to endorse a candidate on Saturday who will have a leg up in a potentially crowded field to replace former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.

Jackson resigned in November after 17 years in Congress amid a federal ethics probe and concerns over his health, and nearly a dozen candidates are considering taking a shot at filling the rare U.S. House vacancy from Illinois.

Dec 13, 2012

After Michigan victory, Republicans target unions in other states

CHICAGO, Dec 13 (Reuters) – Laws that weaken the power of
organized labor could spread to more U.S. states in 2013 after
supporters of the measures scored a major victory over unions in
Michigan this week, and earlier in the year in Indiana, experts

The next battles over what advocates term “right-to-work”
laws could be neighboring Midwest states of Wisconsin and Ohio,
where Republican governors and legislatures have shown a
willingness to take on the unions.

Dec 11, 2012

Appeals court strikes down Illinois ban on handguns in public

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down an Illinois law banning most people in the state from carrying handguns in public, calling the restriction “arbitrary” and “unconstitutional.”

But the court stayed its ruling for 180 days to give Illinois lawmakers the opportunity to amend the measure and create a less sweeping ban on guns outside the home.

Dec 4, 2012

New child sex-abuse suit cites just-released Boy Scout documents

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A former Boy Scout who says he was sexually assaulted when he was 10 by his now-imprisoned former troop leader sued the Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday, citing recently released files the group secretly maintained on suspected molesters in its ranks.

The lawsuit claims the Boy Scouts allowed Thomas Hacker, a Scout leader barred from the group after a 1970s felony sex abuse conviction in Indiana, to rejoin as a volunteer in Illinois in the 1980s, where he went on to molest more boys, including the plaintiff.

Dec 4, 2012

Four with Illinois ties nominated for U.S. Attorney in Chicago

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Four prosecutors with Illinois ties were recommended on Monday to President Barack Obama for U.S. attorney in Chicago succeeding Patrick Fitzgerald, who left this summer after a tenure that included sending two of the state’s governors to federal prison.

The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois will be expected to carry on the fight against Chicago’s political corruption after Fitzgerald was brought in from New York more than a decade ago to get tough on local politicians.