Statement From Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow regarding Office Operations During Coronavirus Pandemic

March 19, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has presented unique challenges to all of us. The Will County State’s Attorney’s office is no exception, as we seek to balance the demands of our justice system, both civil and criminal, with the health and safety needs of the Will County community and our dedicated staff.

I have been in constant communication with our county and court leadership as we coordinate and execute a plan that best achieves the goals of both justice and public health and safety. To that end, in the interest of public health, beginning March 19 our reception office will be closed to in-person visitors until further notice. Our office is fully available to receive telephone calls, and request that if you need assistance you contact the State’s Attorney’s Office at 815-727-8453. You may also reach out via the “Contact Us” form on our website: https://willcountysao.com Our office will remain open with staff working in shifts to reduce the number of people present at our office at any given time.

Please know that my office is committed to providing all necessary services to meet the public’s needs while at the same time doing everything possible to protect the health and safety of the public and my dedicated staff.

I ask for your patience and understanding as we all work together to get through this health crisis. It is an honor to serve you.

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State’s Attorney Glasgow Announces Circuit Judge Tomczak Sentences Bahaa Sam To 29 Years For Bludgeoning Wife To Death

March 17, 2020

JOLIET, IL – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow has announced that Bahaa Sam, 54, of Tinley Park was sentenced to 29 years in prison with no possibility of parole by Circuit Judge Amy Bertani Tomczak for the gruesome murder of his then 38-year-old wife Nermeen on December 19, 2012. A jury found Sam guilty on November 15, 2018, of first-degree murder in bludgeoning his wife to death with a weightlifting bar following an argument. One of the couple’s four children, their then four-year-old boy, witnessed the beating. Sam clubbed his wife repeatedly in their front yard with a curling bar, resulting in severe trauma to the back of her head, and then moved the body under an evergreen tree. The body was discovered by an individual driving past the couple’s home.

“It is truly impossible to comprehend the visceral violence of the savage bludgeoning of this defenseless mother of four,” Glasgow said. “Sam’s ruthless beating of his wife as his innocent four-year-old son witnessed the atrocity is irrefutable evidence of an abandoned and malignant heart. Prison cannot undo the horror this cold-blooded murderer perpetrated upon his family.”

Three of Sam’s four children testified during the course of trial. He had faced a range of 20 to 60 years in prison. The jury spent less than three hours deliberating Sam’s guilt. In addition to the murder conviction, he previously had pled guilty to battery involving his wife.

Glasgow praised the Tinley Park police for their work in investigating the crime, the hard work of Assistant State’s Attorneys Steve Platek and Tom Slazyk who prosecuted the case, victim advocate Kelly Sullivan, and Gus Martinucci who provided audio and video assistance throughout the course of the trial.

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State’s Attorney James Glasgow Announces Forfeiture Of Nine Dogs Including Mother and Six Newborn Puppies

March 16, 2020

JOLIET – State’s Attorney James Glasgow has announced that two dog owners being prosecuted for cruelty to animals by the State’s Attorney’s Animal Protection Unit have forfeited nine canines – including six puppies born Saturday to the female mother dog named “Baby” – who had been living in an abandoned property at 1107 Magnolia Street in Joliet. The animals are now at Joliet Township Animal Control where they are being made available for adoption.

“In cases involving allegations of animal abuse and neglect, it is important to prevent possible harm to these innocent and trusting creatures,” Glasgow said. “That is why the Animal Protection Unit I created in the State’s Attorney’s Office is so vital. This special Unit addresses cases of animal neglect and abuse with an eye toward protection as well as prosecution. The forfeiture of these nine companion animals is a perfect example of how this Unit protects our domestic companions in the course of prosecuting cases involving animal abuse and neglect.”

Glasgow recently received a national award from the Animal Legal Defense Fund as one of the nation’s Top Ten Animal Defenders for his work in establishing the Animal Protection Unit and in creating The League of Extraordinary Canines & Friends, a countywide initiative designed to combat animal cruelty and abuse through advocacy, communications, cooperative efforts with animal humane and rescue organizations, the specialized animal protection unit in the State’s Attorney’s office, the law enforcement community, and all local units of government.

“Like humans, animals are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, stress, and fear,” Glasgow said. “Prosecuting animal abuse and neglect is important, but we must remember that it is just as important to remove animals from situations in which they are suffering.”

The two defendants in this matter still face charges for cruelty to animals.

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State’s Attorney Glasgow Establishes Election Fraud Hotline, Urges Public to Report Election Irregularities

March 16, 2020

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow today urged citizens to report election irregularities to his office’s Election Fraud Hotline during the March 17, 2020, Primary Election.

“Each member of our community can play a major role in helping to preserve the integrity of our election process by staying alert for unusual activities at or near polling places and reporting irregularities,” Glasgow said. “That is why I have established a telephone hotline for citizens to report inappropriate activity, such as passing out campaign literature or other acts of electioneering either inside or too close to polling places.”

The State’s Attorney’s Election Fraud Hotline number is (815) 727-8872.

State’s Attorney Glasgow has assigned two-person teams, each consisting of one assistant state’s attorney and one investigator, to travel to polling places where irregularities are reported on Election Day.

Assistant State’s Attorneys not assigned to specific teams will be available for dispatch from the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office to investigate allegations of election irregularities reported to the Hotline.

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State’s Attorney James Glasgow Receives Lifetime Achievement Award From Senior Services Of Will County

March 9, 2020

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Senior Services of Will County at its annual meeting March 9. The longest-serving Will County State’s Attorney, Glasgow was recipient of the award for contributions to the community spanning nearly three decades.

“Serving as State’s Attorney has given me the incredible opportunity to help those who are the most vulnerable in our communities – including our seniors, who are victims of crimes ranging from physical abuse to financial fraud by criminals who prey on the elderly,” Glasgow said. “As someone who was adopted at birth, I understand firsthand the importance of a sense of community and of reaching out to help others. That’s why I have stressed not only prosecution, but counseling and rehabilitative services, and have worked closely with members of our community to find creative solutions to help address the challenges faced by vulnerable people who need our help.”

A few of Glasgow’s initiatives contributions to the Will County community include:

· Will County Children’s Advocacy Center. Glasgow fought to establish the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center in 1995. Currently celebrating its 25th anniversary year, the CAC has helped nearly 9,800 physically and sexually abused children since its inception.

· Will County Problem Solving Courts. To help provide defendants a second chance, Glasgow wrote and obtained the grants spearheading the creation of the Will County Drug and Adult Redeploy Illinois Courts, petitioned the court for the formation of the Will County Veterans Court, and along with former Chief Judge Gerald Kinney established the Mental Health Court in 2010.

· Unprecedented Residential Facilities for Problem Solving Court Participants. State’s Attorney Glasgow has established three residential facilities to help Problem Solving Court participants on the path to reentry: the Miller Taylor House and Julie Ann House, which provide temporary housing; and the Connor Kelly Residence, which provides longer-term transitional housing.

· Animal Cruelty, Abuse, and Neglect Initiative. Recognizing that violence against humans often begins with animal cruelty and neglect, Glasgow established the League of Extraordinary Canines & Friends as a countywide initiative designed to combat animal cruelty and abuse. Glasgow received a national award as one of the nation’s Top Ten Animal Defenders for 2020 from the Animal Legal Defense Fund for his work in establishing the League.

· Needed Transportation to Assist At-Risk Youth. Using money forfeited by criminals and in partnership with the local business community, Glasgow donated vehicles at no cost to taxpayers to the Veterans Assistance Commission, Boys & Girls Club of Joliet, the Spanish Community Center, and the Forest Park Community Center. He also provided the “Hidden in Plain Sight” vehicle and trailer to the Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization to educate parents on where teens may hide drugs and alcohol in their own homes.

“It is especially meaningful for me to receive this recognition from Senior Services of Will County, an organization that enriches the lives of seniors throughout Will County and works with selfless dedication to ensure our seniors receive the assistance they need in all facets of their daily life,” Glasgow said. “I look forward to working with Senior Services as it expands to its new facility in Romeoville. We are in discussions exploring how our office can further assist our seniors by joining forces with Senior Services at this location.

”Senior Services of Will County’s Executive Director Barry Kolanowski presented Glasgow with the award at the organization’s annual meeting. Glasgow was introduced by Will County Auditor Duffy Blackburn. Each year, the Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual over the age of 60 who has provided a lifetime of service while continuing to be engaged in the community.

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State’s Attorney Glasgow Announces Five Participants Graduate Will County Adult Redeploy Illinois Program

March 4, 2020

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow has announced that five defendants who committed non-violent crimes have graduated from Will County Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI), a program that seeks to keep non-violent offenders out of state prisons through counseling, substance abuse treatment, mental health therapy, and job location services. The individuals, from Joliet, Homer Glen, Romeoville, and Bellwood, graduated from the program in a March 4 ceremony at the Will County Office Building.

“Our justice system needs to be about more than simply putting people behind bars. Our Will County Problem Solving Courts show the positive difference our criminal justice system can have in rehabilitation and helping people get back on their feet,” Glasgow said. “As a result of our Adult Redeploy program, individuals are gainfully employed and have reconnected with family members. They now are on a path to achieve their goals, turn their lives around, and become productive citizens who contribute to our community — which benefits all of us.”

Each of these defendants had pled guilty up-front to various non-violent offenses, such as retail theft, to participate in the intensive 18-month program that helps them avoid a prison sentence. 30 individuals have graduated from the Will County ARI Court since its inception.

Also participating in the ceremony were Circuit Judge Daniel Rippy, who presides over the ARI docket, and Problem Solving Court Coordinator Julie McCabe-Sterr of the State’s Attorney’s Office.

Glasgow wrote and obtained the grant spearheading the creation of the Will County ARI Court in 2015. The Court was recognized at the national level by the National Association of Counties with the 2018 Achievement Award. In addition to the ARI Court, State’s Attorney Glasgow spearheaded the creation of the Drug Court – Will County’s first Problem Solving Court – when he wrote and administered the grant that funded its formation in the late 1990s. He also successfully petitioned for the formation of the Will County Veterans Court in 2012, and along with former Chief Judge Gerald Kinney established the Mental Health Court in 2010.

Glasgow has also established three residential facilities to further help Problem Solving Court participants on the path to reentry: the Miller Taylor House and Julie Ann House, which provide temporary housing; and the Connor Kelly Residence, which opened in 2019 and provides longer-term transitional housing.

Glasgow Receives National Award For Anti-Animal Cruelty Initiatives And Creation Of Countywide “League of Extraordinary Canines & Friends”

February 20, 2020

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow has been named one of “American’s Top Ten Animal Defenders” by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through our legal system. The ALDF is supported by more than 250,000 members nationwide.

Each year, the ALDF recognizes officials who have done outstanding work to make their communities safer for animals during its National Justice for Animals Week – which this year takes place from February 23 through 29.

“I am honored to receive this significant award from the groundbreaking Animal Legal Defense Fund, a leading nationwide nonprofit that each and every day advocates on behalf of animals and protects them from cruelty and abuse,” Glasgow said. “All too often, our animal cruelty laws fail to recognize that animals, like humans, are sentient beings – capable of experiencing pain, stress, and fear. Our animal cruelty laws need to be retooled with this in mind. We need to be able to intervene when animals are suffering, even though they may be able to stoically endure and survive. I look forward to amending our current statutes on animal abuse and cruelty to make that possible.”

According to Glasgow, investigating and prosecuting animal abuse and neglect helps humans as well as animal companions.

“As St. Francis of Assisi recognized more than 900 years ago, those who would deny any creature the shelter of pity and compassion would do likewise to fellow humans. These words were remarkable given that they were made during one of the most violent times in human history, and they remain true today, “Glasgow said.

According to Glasgow, “[t]he link between abuse to animals and violence against humans is undisputed. Addressing animal abuse many times leads to uncovering situations involving abuse or neglect of individuals in that home. Protecting animals helps to protect all of us. That is one reason I formed the League of Extraordinary Canines & Friends – a countywide initiative designed to combat animal cruelty and abuse through advocacy, communications, cooperative efforts with animal humane and rescue organizations, the specialized animal protection unit in the State’s Attorney’s office, the law enforcement community, and all local units of government.”

In choosing Glasgow to receive the national award, the ALDF stated that “[a]nimal victims of abuse cannot speak for themselves, so caring individuals in the criminal justice system must speak up for them. Founding the League of Extraordinary Canines & Friends in 2019 is but one example of your effective compassion and dedication to recognizing and addressing animal abuse crimes in your community.”

In addition to establishing the League of Extraordinary Canines & Friends to address animal abuse, Glasgow:

  • Established an Animal Protection Unit in the State’s Attorney’s office to work with our law enforcement community on prosecuting animal abuse and neglect cases.
  • Wrote Illinois’ 1999 Animal Torture Statute creating the State’s first criminal felony charge for animal cruelty, and in light of the strong link between cruelty to animals and violence against humans, mandating a psychiatric evaluation upon conviction to diagnose and treat propensity for violence against humans.
  • Annually hosts an ASPCA seminar, as well as additional community forums, to educate our community about the critical importance of recognizing and reporting animal cruelty and abuse.

Glasgow was presented the award at the February 20, 2020, Will County Board meeting. County Board Member Herbert Brooks and Terri Crotty, Founder and Owner of Wags 2 Wishes Rescue, offered remarks before presenting the plaque to Glasgow on behalf of the ALDF. 

The ALDF’s National Justice for Animals Week is dedicated to raising awareness about animal abuse and urging law enforcement, prosecutors, and lawmakers to protect our animals and our communities from abusers. The theme for this year’s National Justice for Animal Week is “Fighting Animal Cruelty, Honoring Animal Victims.”

Students Create More Than 2,200 Valentines For Local Veterans Through New Program Launched By Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow

February 13, 2020

Joliet – Will County veterans are receiving more than 2,200 handmade valentines crafted by local students through a “Valentines for Veterans” initiative launched this year by Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow. The State’s Attorney delivered the valentines to the Will County Veterans Assistance Commission, which is handing them out to our local veterans.

“We can never fully express our gratitude to our veterans for their service to this country. This program is a wonderful opportunity to teach our kids about the selfless dedication of our veterans, as well as the importance of saying thank you to one another,” Glasgow said. “It was heartening to see so many students excited about sending their personal messages to our veterans through the Valentines for Veterans program.”

Kristi McNichol, Superintendent of the Will County Veterans Assistance Commission, said her organization already has started giving the valentines to local service members.

“The veterans have been touched by the outpouring of support for them,” McNichol said. “In fact, we already have received a thank you from one of our veterans, who served in Vietnam, expressing how much the homemade valentine meant to him.”

In that note, the veteran wrote, “[t]o the children, teachers, and parents – thank you, thank you for your letters of support. The respect and love you’ve expressed in these letters is greatly appreciated. America is great because of you!”

Classes from the following schools participated in the inaugural Valentines for Veterans program:

  • Chelsea Intermediate School, Frankfort
  • Grand Prairie Elementary School, Frankfort
  • Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Joliet
  • Sanchez Elementary School, Joliet
  • Eisenhower Academy,  Joliet
  • Hufford Jr. High School, Joliet
  • Isaac Singleton Elementary School, Joliet
  • M.J. Cunningham Elementary School, Joliet
  • Taft Elementary School, Joliet
  • Lynne Thigpen Elementary School, Joliet
  • Dirksen Junior High School, Joliet
  • Woodland Elementary School, Joliet
  • Gompers Jr. High School, Joliet
  • Creekside Elementary School, Plainfield
  • Lakewood Falls Elementary School, Plainfield

“I want to thank our teachers and school administrators for their enthusiasm in participating in this important program to thank our area veterans,” Glasgow said.

Glasgow invites schools throughout Will County to contact his office if they are interested in participating in the program next year. 

State’s Attorney Glasgow and Chief Judge Schoenstedt Announce Cooperative Effort to Expunge Eligible Low-Level Marijuana Possession Cases

February 7, 2020

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and Will County Chief Judge Richard Schoenstedt today announced a cooperative effort between the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Will County Twelfth Judicial Circuit, along with the assistance of Will County Circuit Clerk Andrea Lynn Chasteen, to vacate and expunge cannabis cases eligible for automatic expungement under the new Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (HB 1438), which took effect January 1, 2020.

Under the new law legalizing recreational cannabis use and sales, expungement is automatic for cases involving possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis. The Illinois State Police, Prisoner Review Board, and Illinois Attorney General are required by the statute to identify and expunge eligible low-level cannabis offense records, arrests, charges, and/or convictions according to the following:

  • January 1, 2021, for offenses occurring between January 1, 2013, and January 1, 2020.
  • January 1, 2023, for offenses occurring between January 1, 2000, and January 1, 2013.
  • January 1, 2025, for offenses occurring before January 1, 2000.

The statute also gives Illinois State’s Attorneys the authority to expedite the expungement process by filing a motion to vacate and expunge eligible offenses.  State’s Attorney Glasgow and Chief Judge Schoenstedt have agreed to a motion to vacate and expunge simple, low-level cannabis possession cases under this provision.

“Our motion will expedite the process created under state statute, assist our law enforcement community, and provide certainty early on to individuals who may be unsure about the status of their prior low-level cannabis possession cases,” Glasgow said. “Having written Will County’s original Drug Court grant way back in 1998, I have always believed that those who are victims of drug abuse must be treated in a fair, just, and compassionate manner. This motion allows these individuals to finally put these convictions permanently behind them and to get on with their lives.”

Glasgow said he anticipates filing a motion in March that will apply to all low-level cannabis possession cases involving offenses between January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2020 eligible for automatic expungement. He also anticipates addressing low-level cannabis possession cases from earlier years in a subsequent motion.

“Streamlining the process for individuals for whom the question was not if, but simply when, their records will be expunged serves everyone – the judicial system, law enforcement, and those individuals eligible for expungement of their cases,” Judge Schoenstedt said. “We recognize the importance of restorative justice in Will County, and this joint effort is one example of working cooperatively in our community to assist those who need it most.”

Chief Judge Schoenstedt has agreed to sign an order approving Glasgow’s motion.

Although the Act also gives authority to expunge class 4 felony and misdemeanor cannabis delivery offenses, State’s Attorney Glasgow will only be filing a motion to vacate and expunge simple cannabis possession cases that are not associated with felony charges or offenses outlined by the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act.  After the motion to vacate and expunge is filed and approved, all defendants who have had their cases expunged will be notified by the Will County Circuit Clerk’s Office by mail.

Glasgow Announces Nine Participants Graduate Will County Drug Court at January 30 Ceremony – 2020 Marks Will County Drug Court’s 20th Anniversary

January 30, 2020

Joliet – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow has announced that nine individuals from throughout Will County graduated from the Will County Drug Court in a January 30 ceremony at the Jacob Henry Mansion in Joliet. The ceremony brings the number of people who have graduated the Drug Court program to 490. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the program.

“The opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc on the lives of people throughout Will County and our nation. Deaths from heroin and fentanyl in Will County have been on the rise since 2015, and the vast majority of these deaths involved fentanyl,” Glasgow stated. “Anyone who uses heroin will become addicted. It changes your brain chemistry and destroys your rational thought processes. Our Drug Court is literally saving lives by helping to remove individuals from the deadly cycle of addiction, and helping participants reclaim their lives.”

Circuit Court Judge Sarah-Marie Jones, who oversees the Drug Court docket, presided over the ceremony. James Navarro, who graduated the Will County Drug Court in March 2018 and has been sober for three years, spoke at the event about how Drug Court saved his life. Individuals who participated in the ceremony are from the communities of Joliet, Plainfield, Wilmington, Homer Glen, Braidwood, Rockdale, and Mokena.

State’s Attorney James Glasgow spearheaded the creation of the Drug Court – Will County’s first Problem Solving Court – when he wrote and administered the grant that funded its formation. In Drug Court, prosecutors and defense attorneys work with the judge and treatment providers to help individuals who have committed non-violent offenses battle their addictions. Those allowed into the program are carefully screened and must remain drug free, submit to random drug tests, find employment, follow through with treatment, and attend weekly Drug Court sessions.

In addition to Drug Court, Glasgow petitioned the court for the formation of the Will County Veterans Court. He also worked with the Chief Judge to establish the Mental Health Court, as well as writing and winning the grant for the Redeploy Illinois Court to steer qualifying repeat offenders away from prison and into gainful employment. To maximize the effectiveness of the Problem Solving Courts, Glasgow established three residential facilities to further help Problem Solving Court participants on the path to reentry. The Miller Taylor House and Julie Ann House provide temporary housing, and the Connor Kelly Residence which opened in 2019 provides longer-term transitional housing.