Outraged about alleged murderers being on electronic monitoring, politicians propose a new law — but it doesn’t do what they think it does

As public officials continue to raise Cain over accused murderers and attempted murders being released on electronic monitoring (EM), a state legislator from the North Side has introduced a proposal that she says will prevent those defendants from being released on EM before trial. But it’s not clear that her proposal will accomplish the goals she set out.

Rep. Margaret Croke (12th) wants attempted first-degree murder, reckless homicide, aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm or dangerous weapon, armed habitual criminal, and any offense that would require the defendant to register as a sex offender to be excluded from electronic monitoring eligibility. Sen. Sara Feigenholtz (6th) said she would introduce similar legislation in the state senate.

Illinois already excludes people who have been convicted of certain serious crimes from being placed on EM in the case after conviction, but no crime is barred from EM while the defendant is on bond before trial. So, by merely adding to the list of “excluded offenses,” Croke’s legislation would not prohibit people from being released on electronic monitoring before trial.

If Croke wants to prohibit people accused of serious violent crimes from being released on EM before trial, her current proposal won’t do it. In complete fairness, the law is very confusing to read (and write about).

Even if Croke does succeed in barring certain defendants from being placed on EM, there’s nothing that would stop them from being released without electronic monitoring. We asked Croke, Feignholtz, and House Asst. Majority Leader Jaime Andrade (40th), a co-sponsor of her bill, how releasing defendants in violent cases without EM is better for public safety than releasing them with it. None responded.

Who are they? (Part 2)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office told Crain’s reporter Greg Hinz last week that it could not identify the people on EM for murder or attempted murder in the city — or the judges who put them on EM — because the mayor’s office didn’t have access to court files.

So, of course, CWBChicago reviewed the court files. Here’s part two of our report about who the defendants are and what prosecutors accused them of doing. We decided to look only at cases involving crimes alleged to have occurred in the city by defendants who were placed on electronic monitoring within the past year, regardless of when the crime occurred. That’s 35 cases. To protect the identities of alleged victims, we are using the defendants’ initials for domestic incidents.

J.M., 34, Attempted First-Degree Murder
Prosecutors said J.M. was asked to leave his girlfriend’s house after they argued in July 2021. He allegedly punched her, threw things around, and broke the front glass door. The girlfriend’s family members again told him to leave, and J.M. got into an argument with his girlfriend’s father outside the home, prosecutors said.

The father said he had a gun, went inside, and allegedly came back out with the weapon, which he used to threaten J.M. Both men threatened each other until J.M. ran away.

While J.M. was leaving, the father put his gun away and came back out of the house, according to witnesses. Prosecutors said that the father and one of his sons got into a car and chased after J.M. When they caught up with him, the father and J.M. threw punches at each other until J.M. fled again, according to the allegations.

He got into his car and began to leave, but his girlfriend tried to block him in, prosecutors said. J.M. drove around her, struck her father, and hit a tree, according to the allegations.

The father suffered a broken leg and cuts over his eye and on his arm. Prosecutors said J.M., who has two children and no felony background, admitted to striking the man with his car.

Judge Susana Ortiz set bail at $50,000. J.M. posted 10% of that to go home on electronic monitoring.

Derrick Redmond, 27, Attempted First-Degree Murder
Chicago police officers who responded to a ShotSpotter alert on the 5600 block of South Shields on the afternoon of August 29, 2018, found a 28-year-old man with a gunshot wound to his right ankle, according to a CPD report.

Cops assigned to monitor CPD’s surveillance cameras in the area saw Derrick Redmond shoot the victim, the report said.

Prosecutors initially charged Redmond with aggravated discharge of a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon with a previous conviction. Judge Michael Clancy set bail at $200,000.

A grand jury later returned attempted murder charges, and Redmond posted 10% of Clancy’s bail amount to get out of jail without electronic monitoring on May 1, 2020, according to court records.

With the attempted murder case still pending, Redmond was arrested again on May 25, 2021, after police allegedly saw him ditch a defaced handgun as he ran from a car crash.

Prosecutors charged him with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. Judge David Navarro set bail in the new gun case at $250,000 and held Redmond without bail until the judge handling the attempted murder case, William Raines, could review the new developments.

Raines reduced that no-bail hold to $1 million cash with electronic monitoring on May 27, then he lowered it again to $200,000, requiring a $20,000 deposit, on August 19, court records show. Meanwhile, a grand jury upgraded Redmond’s charges to Class X armed habitual criminal in the gun case.

He posted bail and went home with electronic monitoring on September 7, according to court records.

Denzel Ollison, 28, First-Degree Murder
According to a Chicago Tribune report, prosecutors said Denzel Ollison shot and killed his childhood friend, Mitchell Barber, 27, while they talked about girls. Ollison told police that he was feeling suicidal and heard spirits telling him to do things, but the Tribune reported that tests found only marijuana and alcohol in his system.

Judge John Lyke held Ollison without bail on November 25, 2020, but Judge Diana Kenworthy reduced the bail amount to $250,000 with electronic monitoring two months later.

Two days after Kenworthy reduced his bail, Ollison allegedly tried to bite and headbutt a jail worker and spit into the officer’s eye. He reportedly ripped a “spit hood” the officers put on his head and continued to spit at the staff.

Based on his actions and other allegations of bad behavior in jail, prosecutors asked Kenworthy to reinstate Ollison’s no-bail status. She declined, and Ollison’s mother posted the $25,000 necessary for him to go home on EM in April 2021.

Previous reporting

About CWBChicago 6713 Articles
CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com