When the two best law enforcement officers in a county join forces in a courtroom, it usually means someone is behind bars.
So it was an unusual twist last week when Kane County Attorney Jamie Mosser and Sheriff Ron Hain worked together to release a man – one who has faced serious drug charges, no less.
Mosser and Hain appeared together in court in the case of Rick Swain, a 50-year-old Aurora man who has been incarcerated in the county jail since 2019 pending a trial on heroin charges. They persuaded Judge John Barsanti – himself a former prosecutor – to release Swain for electronic home surveillance.
The release is kind of a reward for Swain’s commitment to a new addiction treatment program in prison that offers nonviolent defendants the opportunity to become free by making a commitment to change their lives. It is the first to be published through the program.
Hain said Swain had taken 16 classes in prison, including one for successful re-entry into society and another for an OSHA health and safety certification.
The sheriff also arranged for Swain to work at the Gentlemen’s Parlor Hair Salon in Aurora as part of his Second Chance Chair program. The parlor is owned by a deputy Cook County sheriff, Hain said.
“I would definitely be a hard worker out there,” Swain testified.
What if Swain screws it up?
“I would find him myself and take him to Kane County Jail,” Hain said.
While in detention, Swain is subjected to random drug tests and home and work visits. He must participate in an outpatient addiction recovery program and continue trauma therapy. And he will live with a sister at Sugar Grove.
Jamie Mosser, Kane County District Attorney
Both Mosser and Swain attorney Alex Bederka pleaded for his release.
“This (lighthouse) is a program that I believe in,” said Mosser.
Barsanti ordered monthly reports on Swain’s work, school, and education and warned him that there is no room for error – he’s an example of the program, good or bad.
“These people all believe in you, and that’s an amazing thing,” Barsanti said when a tearful Swain shook his head in agreement.
We first introduced you to the Hain and Swain relationship in October when we wrote about the sheriff’s launch of a podcast interviewing prison inmates. Swain was one of the earliest guests on A Sheriff and His Inmates.
Swain, who said he started using drugs when he was 11, told Hain that if recovery programs had been available when he was first incarcerated, he might have avoided being incarcerated three times in his life.
Do you have a constitutional right to take a photo of someone in a public place? What if that someone is a kid? And the photographer a convicted sex offender?
These were the questions recently asked before a state appeals court when it pondered – and ultimately dismissed – the appeal of a suburban man who was arrested, convicted, and jailed for photographing two teenagers in a Buffalo Grove store in 2016 .
Gregory A. Rollins
Gregory A. Rollins, 39, asked the court to overturn his conviction and five-year prison sentence for child photography of a sex offender. Rollins, a former Woodridge resident, argued that the law was unconstitutional and that his photography of 15- and 13-year-old boys was protected by the first amendment.
The Illinois Second District Court of Appeals disagreed. In a unanimous decision last Friday, the court ruled that state law making it illegal for sex offenders to photograph children without parental consent is not aimed at the content of the images but serves an important public interest.
“First of all, there is no question that the government’s interest in protecting children from sex offenders is substantial and even imperative,” wrote Judge Donald Hudson in the 22-page verdict. “So clearly the government was acting to promote sufficient interest when it passed (the law).”
Rollins had previously been convicted of predatory criminal sexual assault on a child in Cook County in 1999. He is serving his sentence for photography in connection with an unrelated possession of a DuPage County child pornography conviction in 2020 and cannot be paroled until 2025.
A woman from Villa Park is suing DuPage County, prosecutors, and the Chicago Herpetological Society for recovering nearly 60 snakes – mostly boas and king snakes – and about a dozen other reptiles that were confiscated in a robbery on a garage in Addison in February .
Federal agents came across the animals while searching the property of Michael Frobouck, who allegedly wanted to raise an army to “take back the land” and sold an unregistered “destructive device” to an undercover agent.
An informant told the authorities that he had seen several rifles and tens of thousands of rounds of various ammunition in the basement of Frobouck’s house at the end of November. The next month, the informant introduced Frobouck to an undercover federal agent who authorities claim had purchased ammunition, explosives and explosive precursor chemicals from the Addison man.
Frobouck attorney Timothy Whelan also represents reptile owner Shelby Becci. He says Becci’s only connection with Frobouck was renting space from him after a fire in their house in Villa Park.
Becci runs a company called Scales and Tails and can be hired to bring the animals out for educational demonstrations. Her suit estimates that they are worth approximately $ 26,000.
According to DuPage County Animal Control, the snakes are cared for by the Herpetological Society.
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