DuPage judge's legal woes provide fodder for lawyers' 'Hannibal O'Shea' skit
The DuPage County Bar Association's Judges' Nite Show began 43 years ago as a roast of the people in black robes. And the skewer was a sharp one at this year's show, especially for Judge Patrick O'Shea.
The judge's legal woes -- he was acquitted after being charged with reckless conduct for firing a bullet into a wall at his Wheaton apartment -- provided comedic fodder for the skit "Hannibal O'Shea." Attorney Christopher Ward portrayed O'Shea as he was treated like cannibal serial killer Hannibal Lecter from the movie "The Silence of the Lambs."
Wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, a shackled Ward was wheeled out on a dolly while a Lecter-style muzzle was displayed on a big screen overhead. He sang a parody of the "Hamilton" song "My Shot," as he was placed in a "judicial reclamation program."
Show writer/director Nick Nelson said the skit poked fun at the security measures the DuPage County courthouse took after O'Shea's arrest. Once he was charged, the court's executive committee stripped him of unfettered access and he had to be accompanied by a sheriff's deputy any time he was in the courthouse.
"We generally don't run anything by anyone before the show," Nelson said Wednesday. "It was funny, and people were surprised that we raised the subject."
O'Shea did not attend Judges' Nite, which took place the same day a judge found him not guilty of the misdemeanor charge. Held in the Belushi Performance Hall at College of DuPage, the show raised about $30,000 for the DuPage County Legal Assistance Foundation, which provides legal aid for poor people.
Protests no problem
While Wednesday's student walkouts might have made a mess of teacher lesson plans at schools across the suburbs, police leaders we spoke with said they were peaceful and did little to disrupt law enforcement operations or their communities.
That was the case even in Barrington, where police faced the additional challenge of Barrington High students taking their protest off campus and marching about a mile to a park.
Police Chief Dave Dorn told us that along with the patrol officers normally on duty, he had five additional officers -- including himself and his deputy chief -- on the scene.
"Anytime you have a large crowd like this, you need additional officers to make sure everything is done safely and everything is monitored," he said. "Fortunately, (the students) were extremely cooperative and everything was safe."
Dorn said he worked with student organizers and school officials before the walkout to come up with a plan to keep the teens safe and minimize disruption.
Naperville police had 21 officers -- all working regular duty -- at three high schools where students conducted walkouts Wednesday, Cmdr. Lou Cammiso told staff writer Marie Wilson. One walkout drew a small number of counterprotesters.
Seven officers patrolled each school as students at Naperville Central, Naperville North and Neuqua Valley high schools left class to rally for school safety and gun violence prevention. Cammiso said officers were on hand at each location to protect the students.
"We just make sure that they're safe, that's all," Cammiso said.
There was one minor incident at Geneva High School's march, Cmdr. Brian Maduzia said. A pair of students were caught trying to slip off campus after their protest. School officials dealt with that, he said.
Fired Harper College psychology professor Charles Johnston has formally pleaded not guilty to accusations he fired on truckers and state troopers in a bizarre Jan. 11 shootout in rural Iowa.
Johnston, 60, remains locked up in the Cedar County, Iowa, jail facing charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He's being held on a $1 million bail, and a judge ordered he must post the full amount if he wants to go free while his case is pending.
"Because of how dangerous Mr. Johnston is, we asked for the full $1 million and got it," Cedar County Attorney Jeffrey Renander told us.
Another sign of how serious authorities are taking the case? Renander called in assistance from the Iowa attorney general to help his small office prosecute Johnson.
For reasons that still aren't entirely clear -- beyond the professor telling police he doesn't like truckers -- Johnston opened fire on truckers Jan. 11 at a rest stop along Interstate 80 between Iowa City and the Quad Cities, authorities say. He then turned his weapon on state police who arrived at the scene, according to Iowa police, then surrendered. Somehow, nobody was seriously injured.
Officials at Harper, where Johnston had taught since 1996, fired him 12 days after the shooting.
Next up for Johnston is a yet-to-be-scheduled pretrial conference. A trial date hasn't been set.
St. Patrick's Day falling on a weekend might be extra reason to celebrate, but if you're driving, please keep a close eye on your consumption of Guinness and Jameson.
Police departments across the suburbs are conducting special patrols and putting more cops on the streets this weekend looking for drivers who've had too much Irish spirits.
"Remember: It's not just about you," Streamwood police Cmdr. Randy Hart said. "There are other people on the roads who want to get where they are going safely."
Jail attack charges
A teen locked up in the Kane County jail on charges he robbed an East Dundee gas station is now accused of beating up a fellow inmate, Legal Affairs Writer Harry Hitzeman tell us.
Damarcus D. Gilmore, 19, of Chicago is charged with aggravated battery stemming from the Feb. 27 altercation, court records show.
His victim? Kennrith Foster, 48, who's accused of beating and shooting his ex-wife at a gas station in Sugar Grove last December. According to the records, Gilmore's beating sent Foster to a hospital's intensive-care unit for "severe head trauma and bleeding to the brain." He'll need facial reconstruction surgery.
Gilmore faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted in the armed robbery charges, and five years on the jail beating charge.
Foster is charged with attempted murder, and is being held on $1 million bail. He also faces up to 30 years in prison.
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