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Around the state 12-13-17

New law aimed at combating fraudulent opioid prescriptions

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation aimed at combatting fraudulent opioid prescriptions by requiring drug prescribers to use a database containing patient prescription histories.

The measure Rauner signed Wednesday requires prescribers with an Illinois Controlled Substance License to register for and use the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program. The database lets physicians check if patients have previously requested controlled substances. Rauner's office says the effort will cut down on patients obtaining opioid prescriptions from multiple doctors.

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti is chair of the Governor's Opioid Overdose Prevention Task Force. She says the law gives prescribers "the tools they need to ensure patients aren't manipulating the system to support their addiction."

The Illinois Department of Human Services will maintain the database. Physicians who don't comply may be subject to state disciplinary action. The new law takes effect Jan. 1.

Judge: Reporter need not testify in Chicago police shooting

CHICAGO (AP) — The first journalist to publicly question Chicago police accounts of the shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald won't have to testify in the criminal case of the officer charged with first-degree murder in the killing.

Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan told a Wednesday hearing that he was quashing a subpoena from Officer Jason Van Dyke aimed at learning how Jamie Kalven obtained details of the 2014 shooting.

The judge concluded that the defense didn't show Kalven's testimony was relevant. Kalven said he wouldn't reveal his sources, even if asked under oath.

Officers had said McDonald lunged at them before Van Dyke shot him 16 times. Kalven reported that video actually showed McDonald walking away at the time.

Several media outlets, including the Associated Press, backed Kalven in court filings.

Illinois man sentenced to 32 years in mother's choking death

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — A northern Illinois man has been sentenced to 32 years in prison for fatally choking his mother and dumping her body in the Des Plaines River.

Will County prosecutors say a judge sentenced 37-year-old Shane Smith of Joliet on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty in June to first-degree murder for the Oct. 13, 2013 death of Joan Smith.

Prosecutors say the son lived with his mother but she wouldn't allow his wife to live in her house because of frequent arguments between the couple.

Prosecutors say Shane Smith and his mother had an argument and during the dispute he choked her, put her body in a garbage bag and dropped her body in the river near the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. Her body was discovered downstream several days later.

Chicago man beaten by Metra police reaches $225K settlement
CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago man beaten by a transit police officer in 2015 and wrongly jailed for nearly two years has received a $225,000 settlement from the Metra commuter railroad.
Attorneys for D'Nardo Mack say he was "unjustifiably attacked" at Millennium Station in Chicago by former Metra Officer David Robertson, The Daily Herald reported. Mack was initially charged with five criminal offenses, including resisting arrest and unlawful use of a deadly weapon.
"The fact that Mr. Mack remained in prison for 21 months for crimes he did not commit is simply unacceptable," said defense attorney Martin D. Gould.
Railroad spokesman Michael Gillis said Metra believes the settlement is fair for both parties.
But authorities said surveillance video shows Robertson punching and spraying Mack with pepper spray unprovoked. The video also shows other officers hitting Mack with batons and punching him.
Robertson has been charged with aggravated battery. Metra officials said two other officers involved were terminated.
"As an agency that now prides itself on having a well-run and professional police force, and after our own investigation into the matter, we are disturbed and deeply troubled by this conduct," Metra Executive Director Don Orseno said in October. "This conduct is unacceptable to us and will not be tolerated. It is not representative of the culture and standards of the Metra Police Department."
Robertson's attorney maintains his innocence and has said he'll be exonerated.

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