Judge orders Moreno released from Cook County jail today with conditions

Date: 
01/15/2021
JMoreno.jpg

Proco "Joe" Moreno when serving as Alderman

Cook County Judge William Hooks signed orders to release former 1st Ward Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno from Cook County Jail today, Fri., Jan. 15. But he told Moreno, "No more surprises." 

In addition to having Moreno's Dec. 27 swath of auto destruction case in his courtroom, Hooks is handling Moreno's felony case from May 2019. In that case, in the midst of a re-election campaign, Moreno claimed a woman took his car. He followed that with filing an alleged false insurance claim. 

Travis Richardson, one of Moreno's attorneys for the Dec. 27 case, told Judge Hooks at the Jan. 7 hearing that no one was injured, implying it wasn't a serious incident. The judge viewed it differently. 

Hooks ordered Moreno to turn himself in to the Cook County Jail on Jan. 7. Hooks delivered that directive saying that Moreno was a "Danger to the community." 

In today's Zoom hearing, the discussion was about releasing Moreno from jail but the judge was clear about the need for Moreno to be in a rehab program.

According to Richardson, Moreno voluntarily went into a rehab program after the December incident and before he went to jail. While there was verbal discussion about that, there were no documents to support and explain what that consisted of. Hooks made it clear that the program needed to be strict.

Discussion about whether the program was to include substance as well as alcohol circled around the fact that in the Dec. 27 incident reports, they only stated that he had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood test. There was nothing in the report that indicated drug abuse. 

The plan for the final disposition of this case is what the four attorneys are tasked to agree on. They are Moreno's two attorneys, Richardson and Howard Brookins (Alderman of the 21st Ward) and, on the State's side, Assistant State's Attorneys Tom Simpson and John Brassil. 

The judge made it clear that he wants the rehabilitation plan in writing with an institution/program that is accredited and certifies regular testing. 

While the fact is that Moreno has no criminal record, there will be no electronic monitoring, but there are several conditions for his release from jail today. The four attorneys will be working together on a final agreement before the next court date on Mar. 4.

The immediate conditions of Moreno's release are:

  • A $5,000 D-Bond
  • A curfew from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • No driving
  • No alcohol 

Judge Hooks, who set the curfew hours in consideration for Moreno being able to work, made it clear that the condition of release and subsequent case decision that the rehab program must include regular testing. 

In an orange jumpsuit with a mask covering most of his face, Moreno complimented the Cook County Jail staff. "I've learned a lot. The guards and staff have a tough job and I respect them for what they do every day." 

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