Illinois has a long fought the manufacture, marketing and use of synthetic marijuana. In our article Chicago Cracks Down on Retailers Selling Synthetic Drugs, we mentioned that the city was among the first to make it a criminal offense to sell the drug and that the state was not far behind. A law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, takes these laws a couple of steps further.
About a week before the Super Bowl, USA Today published an article about synthetic marijuana use among NFL players. The point of the article was less that the drug is illegal in most states and under federal law than it was to take the NFL to task for not adding synthetic cannabinoids to the list of banned substances.
We are continuing our discussion of a man who was recently released from prison after serving 11 years of a 14-year sentence. He had insisted from the beginning that he was innocent -- more than that, that he was framed by a Chicago police sergeant and another officer. At his trial in 2005, he testified that these officers had been running a shakedown operation in the housing complex where he had been arrested. The judge dismissed his allegations, saying they "fell on their face."
As in the rest of the country, in Chicago criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is meant to be a high standard of proof that is supposed to avoid convictions based on ambiguous or dubious evidence.
Earlier this month, CBS' "60 Minutes" ran a story about three men released from prison after spending decades on death row. The three are part of a growing number of men -- as many as 10 every month, according to this report -- whose wrongful convictions are being overturned "because of new evidence, new confessions or the forensic science of DNA."