Friday, July 31, 2015

Somebody somewhere REALLY doesn’t think much of Mel Reynolds

The Mel Reynolds saga has reached new levels of pathos, what with the way he’s now desperately scouring for a place to live that doesn’t offend the sensibilities of the U.S. District Court in Chicago.

REYNOLDS: 'Big Brother' watching him?
Reynolds is the one-time Congressman (and Rhodes scholar who also attended Harvard University which makes him a highly-educated Chicago politico) who has done time in both state and federal prisons, and nearly got himself incarcerated in Africa.

HE HAD TO “settle” for deportation instead.

He has a new round of legal issues to deal with – federal prosecutors are seeking conviction and prison time on charges that he did not file income tax returns during a four-year period.

Those charges are now pending, and Reynolds had been reduced to living with a friend in Chicago while also this is going on.

But it seems that is a problem, because of that state conviction from two decades ago that is the reason most people remember Reynolds at all – where he was found guilty of having sexual relations with a teenage girl. Remember the gags about “peach panties” and “win(ning) the Lotto?”

BECAUSE OF THAT conviction, he remains a sex offender. He’s required to notify authorities of where he lives. And there are restrictions on where he can live – theoretically to reduce the amount of exposure he has to children.

Sure enough, his residence falls within the range of a school. He has to move.

But he was reduced to scrambling on Thursday to find someone to stay with who is far away enough from children to not offend the court’s sensibilities. One place in suburban Bartlett was too close to a child care facility, while Reynolds’ plans to check into a motel just across the state line in Indiana bothered the judge.

They could easily sic’ the U.S. Marshalls based in Hammond, Ind., on Reynolds, but the judge didn’t like the idea of Mel having to cross state lines quite so often. Even if anyone who is realistic knows full well that the Chicago metro area stretches into the Hoosier state.

AS ONE WHO was born in the part of Chicago that borders Indiana and raised in suburban municipalities right on State Line Road, I’d be inclined to think that making Mel Reynolds live in Indiana ought to constitute part of his punishment.

It certainly would put him out of our political hair, while also keeping him close enough for law enforcement types to keep an eye on him.

But that’s not going to happen. Supposedly, Reynolds found someone to stay with for Thursday night, and is expected to return to court on Friday with a long-range plan for where he will stay while he is free on bond for the tax evasion charges he currently faces.

We’ll find out later Friday if the judge is satisfied with his living arrangements, or if the threat is followed through on that Reynolds would have to be detained at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (the South Loop building with the narrow, rectangular windows) while his criminal case is pending.

PERHAPS IT ONLY is appropriate that Reynolds is being overly-scrutinized (or “scrootened” as former Mayor Richard M. Daley would have said).

Because after facing the sex charges, then federal charges related to campaign contributions, and now the tax evasion charges, it seems that Reynolds is going to be watched for the rest of his life.

It’s just too bad that Reynolds didn’t catch on to that fact in recent years in handling his tax returns – which he insists are totally proper. Although I found it humorous to read in the Chicago Sun-Times how his attorney said that perhaps his poverty these days is his defense.

Maybe if he doesn’t have any money, it means he had miniscule income to report. We’ll have to see if the judge buys that legal argument.


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