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Daywatch: Mayor Lightfoot and the presumption of innocence

Good morning, Chicago.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot escalated her feud with the Cook County criminal courts system on Monday when she said judges shouldn’t allow people charged with violent crimes out on bail because they are “guilty” if they have been charged.

“Given the exacting standards that the state’s attorney has for charging a case, which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, when those charges are brought, these people are guilty,” Lightfoot said. “Of course they’re entitled to a presumption of innocence. Of course they’re entitled to their day in court. But residents in our community are also entitled to safety from dangerous people.”

Lightfoot’s comments are noteworthy because the criminal justice system operates under the presumption of innocence for suspects, and Chicago has a long history of police misconduct that has led to wrongful convictions. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois criticized Lightfoot’s comments, saying it’s “sad to see a highly-trained lawyer and former prosecutor so badly mangle the meaning of our Constitution.”

Meanwhile, the Tribune’s Gregory Pratt takes a sweeping look at the mayor’s record on labor. While Lightfoot’s fights with the Chicago Teachers Union and Fraternal Order of Police have drawn significant public attention and helped define her tenure in office, the mayor has quietly built a strong relationship with some labor leaders.

Lightfoot’s relationships with labor, Pratt writes, will help shape her political fortunes in the 2023 mayoral race.

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Two brothers were framed for a 1997 murder because a Chicago police detective who was secretly running an extensive narcotics ring thought one of them had stolen from one of his drug-world associates, attorneys for the brothers said in court.

Juan and Rosendo Hernandez are hoping to win a new trial after 25 years in custody, alleging that drug-running police Officer Joseph Miedzianowski — once called “the most corrupt” officer ever prosecuted in northern Illinois — colluded with now-infamous former Detective Reynaldo Guevara to pin a Northwest Side murder on Juan Hernandez, with Rosendo getting caught up as collateral damage.

Daywatch: Mayor Lightfoot and the presumption of innocence

A federal judge ruled against Ald. Edward Burke and his co-defendants in a slew of pretrial motions seeking to suppress evidence and toss certain charges in his racketeering indictment, putting the case on track for a trial next year.

The long-awaited, 194-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Dow handed a clean sweep to prosecutors after nearly two years of back-and-forth legal briefs that delved into the hundreds of wiretapped phone calls at the heart of the case.

Daywatch: Mayor Lightfoot and the presumption of innocence

Republican candidates for Congress are trying to stand out from the pack in primary races this month for a chance to take on incumbent Democrats in two closely watched Chicago-area districts, following a remap that has changed the political landscape.

Some congressional districts have been moved to largely new areas of the state. Democrats drew the new lines to favor their own candidates, but some suburban and rural districts — particularly Rep. Lauren Underwood’s 14th and Rep. Bill Foster’s 11th — are likely to remain highly contested come November.

Daywatch: Mayor Lightfoot and the presumption of innocence

A handful of hospitals across the state have received federal permission to provide hospital care to some patients at home. It’s a program that the federal government started during the pandemic as a way to help hospitals free up space, but Illinois hospital leaders hope to see it continue long term as a way to make patients more comfortable, keep hospital beds open for others and save money.

“I can’t stand to be shut up in a room with no fresh air, like the hospital is,” said Patty Cowick, who received hospital care at home, with daily visits from nurses and virtual check-ins with a doctor. “It’s been a long road, but I really am thankful for this program.”

Daywatch: Mayor Lightfoot and the presumption of innocence

Sometimes, if you look closely, you can spot the blue band on Frank Schwindel’s wrist. For Schwindel, his Team Ryker wristband is a visual connection to the 7-year-old Chicago Cubs fan who calls the first baseman his best friend.

Schwindel’s bond with Ryker Colón began in January at a meet-and-greet event through Club 400, a nonprofit founded by a Cubs fan. As the Tribune’s Meghan Montemurro reports, it spawned a link between Schwindel and the Colón family.

Daywatch: Mayor Lightfoot and the presumption of innocence

When America’s first national park Yellowstone was established in 1872, 2 million acres were set aside “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people,” as stated in the act signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant.

This year, as Yellowstone marks its 150th anniversary, the numerous national parks, national forests and state parks dotting the Midwest continue that important legacy and provide plenty of unique adventures on and off the beaten trail. Set your sights on these seven spots that show off the natural splendor of the Midwest.

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