Naperville Man Arrested for Recording Video of Neighborhood Kids

naperville child pornLast month police raided the house of Renzo Barduagni – a resident of the Naperville’s Wildflower area and seized a large collection of child pornography.

Police reportedly seized many years of video recordings of neighborhood children and multiple high definition video cameras.

He is charged with the following:

  • 5 Counts of Aggravated Child Pornography – Possess Film/Photo
  • 1 Count of Unauthorized video recording – Victim under 18

Bail has been set at $300,000. He must produce $30,000 cash to be released before his hearing.

Barduagni is an Italian native who moved to Naperville 10 years ago on a work visa. According to neighbors, he lived in the house alone. With these charges, other residents of the neighborhood are obviously concerned that Barduagni may have recorded video footage of other children.

Brett Appelman Comments

I was personally approached by a few of the people that live in the neighborhood in which this case occurred.  Understandably they were angry and scared for their children.  They were wondering if more children had been videotaped by the defendant, and what they could do about it.

In any criminal case, it is important that everyone remain calm and think about possible consequences before they act.  Some of the neighbors wanted to confront the defendant should he be released on bail, others wanted to vandalize his house and cars.

I explained that vandalizing or damaging the defendant’s property was illegal, and would likely get some of them arrested.  We can all understand their feelings of wanting revenge against a man who had violated the neighborhood children.  But being angry is not a viable defense in criminal court.

The best thing to do in a case like this is to contact the prosecutor’s office and explain how upset you are at the defendant.  Tell the prosecutor that you and your neighbors will be in court every time the case comes up and that you will be watching to make sure the case is handled properly.

Another course of action is to call the press and tell them what is going on.  The best pressure that can be put on prosecutors is by reporters asking questions.

Within days the neighbors had spoken to multiple news stations and papers, and made this case a much bigger deal than it might have been without their intervention.

Naperville Babysitter Pleads Not Guilty in Televised Arraignment

When Naperville babysitter Elzbieta Plackowska pled not guilty to the murder of two young children, she did so in front of cameras, which were allowed in a DuPage County courtroom for the first time in the county’s history.

The arraignment, which lasted less than five minutes, was the first televised criminal proceeding of a Chicago metro area court case.

“Everything went smoothly,” DuPage County Chief Judge John Elsner said after the hearing.

Plackowska did not speak during the arriagnment, and Assistant Public Defender Michael Mara entered the plea on her behalf.

Plackowska faces 10 counts of murder after she allegedly fatally stabbed her 7-year-old son and a 5-year-old girl whom she was babysitting on October 30.

Cameras were allowed in court as part of a new Illinois Supreme Court policy that seeks to make court proceedings more widely accessible.  One television camera and one still camera were allowed to document the arraignment by Judge Robert Kleeman, who presided over the hearing.  Judge Kleeman rejected two additional media requests for a greater camera presence.

DuPage County is the 23rd Illinois county to allow camera documentation in court, but it became the first county in the Chicago metro area to allow such media coverage.

Plackowska and State’s Attorney Robert Berlin did not object to the camera presence, and Berlin said they didn’t affect the proceeding.

“The arraignment was like any other arraignment we do in this building,” Berlin said.  “Honestly, I didn’t even notice the cameras.”

Although Illinois is trying to make it easier for the public to have access to court proceedings, Berlin said people need to be aware that what happens in a courtroom is serious business, not entertainment.

The integration of cameras into the courtroom has been successful in other Illinois counties, and their presence in DuPage County could open the door for expanded media coverage in more Chicago-area court cases, said Supreme Court spokesman Joseph Tybor.

“DuPage is a stepping stone to Chicago,” Tybor said.

Illinois Attorney Brett Appelman Comments

In America we value our court system as one of best and fairest in the world.  Part of that commitment to fairness is that our courts are open; everything is done in public, and anyone who wants to can go to the courthouse and see all of the proceedings for themselves.

As an expansion of that desire for openness, many courts have begun to allow cameras and reporters inside the courtroom.  Chicago and the Chicago area have never before allowed cameras into the courtroom to tape the proceedings, but today’s recording is a big step in expanding that openness to television audiences.  Even if you can’t make it to the court, you will still be able to view exactly what goes on in the courtroom through your television.”

Kane County to Crack Down on Drunk Driving during Thanksgiving Holiday

Police in Kane County used a DUI crackdown to prevent drunk driving around Halloween last month, and they will use similar enforcement the night before Thanksgiving.

Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said four arrests were made during last month’s patrol, and the “no-refusal” system will be in place on the eve of Thanksgiving.

The no-refusal periods are unique, as they allow authorities to have much quicker deliberations with judges and prosecutors.  Judges are on call and ready to draft search warrants for suspected drunk drivers who refuse to comply with breath tests.  Motorists normally face the loss of their license if they fail to comply with a breath test, but the quick draft of a warrant can order the suspect to take the test.

Last month, police did not have to serve warrants for any of the arrested individuals.  Three people complied willing, while the fourth complied only after being told the officer would get a warrant.

All four drivers were over the legal limit at the time of arrest, and one suspect blew a .290, nearly four times the legal limit of 0.8 in Illinois.

The night before Thanksgiving is popular night for alcohol consumption as family and friends arrive in town for holiday festivities.  McMahon said authorities would conduct another no-refusal program on November 21.

“Our goal is zero DUI arrests. That means people are being responsible. But we are pleased that we were able to get BAC samples from everyone charged, and we are pleased that four intoxicated drivers were removed from the roadways,” McMahon said.

Jenna Jameson Ordered to Pay $92,000 for Missed Appearances

Jameson was ordered to reimburse the Hollywood Palms theater group for promotional expenses and lost revenue after Jameson violated terms of her contract which required her to attend movie premiers at two Illinois theaters.

Jameson did not appear in court, and did not contest the charges.  Representatives for the adult film actress had previously told the theater group that Jameson would not defend the lawsuit.  She had originally hired a local attorney to assist during the early stages of trial, but he later withdrew as counsel.

In the contract, Hollywood Palms had agreed to cover Jameson’s travel expenses and pay her $10,000 for appearances at the Naperville and Woodridge theaters.  The appearances were scheduled to coincide with showings of a movie in which Jameson starred called “Zombie Strippers!”

Jameson notified the theater group that she wouldn’t be able to attend less than 48 hours before the event.  She claimed to have fallen ill, but was videotaped at a celebrity birthday party in California during the same weekend.

Representatives for Hollywood Palms argued that the theater group lost over $40,000 in promotional expenses, ticket reimbursements, concession sales, and travel arrangements because Jameson breached the contract.

Hollywood Palms CEO Ted Bulthaup said the group lost even more in free promotion.  He argued that the theaters use celebrity appearances to generate excitement about upcoming events through advertisements and interviews.  Not only did the company lose out on free publicity, but Jameson’s failed appearance also hurt the credibility of Hollywood Palms.

The lawsuit sought $250,000 in costs and publicity value, although presiding judge Patrick Leston found that number “highly speculative”.  However, he did award the group $50,000 for lost publicity and $42,000 for operational costs.

Attorney Sean Sullivan Comments

I would recommend that the theater group includes a “Liquidated Damages” clause next time they hire a celebrity to promote a film.  In this case, the judge found the $250,000 figure “highly speculative”, but a liquidated damages clause would have defined the revenue the theater group stood to lose.  Although a liquidated damages clause is tricky to draft, it provides an actual value for assets lost due to a breach of contract.

For example, in a contract for the completion of a shopping mall, the builder proposes a certain day that the mall will be finished and open for business.  For every day that the mall is still not completed by the promised deadline, the builder would be charged a certain amount, say $10,000, because the shopping mall owner is losing business each day the mall is not open.  It’s hard to determine the exact amount the owner is losing each day the mall isn’t open, but the liquidated damages clause eliminates the ambiguity of the lost revenue. The builder knows the penalty for not meeting his end of the bargain and the shopping mall owner is compensated per day for his lost revenue at an amount both sides agreed to.  A Judge is much more likely to uphold any damages claimed under this clause then any figure the plaintiff comes up with on their own.

Related Source:  Chicago Tribune

Naperville Woman Accused of Killing 2 Kids

Elzbieta Plackowska, a Naperville woman who is accused of murdering 2 children, is expected to plead insanity at her upcoming hearing.

Plackowska allegedly stabbed to death her son and another child whom she was babysitting. She has since confessed to both murders and is being charged with 1st degree murder.

Prosecutors in the case are now expecting an insanity plea from Plackowska and her attorneys. With that in mind, they are seeking to have Plackowska examined by a psychiatrist to determine whether or not she is insane in the legal sense of the term.

“Society uses the term ‘insanity defense’ quite often,” says Chicago Attorney Sean Sullivan. “It is referenced all the time in movies and on television. What exactly does a defense based on insanity mean?  Legally to be insane a person must not be able to understand the consequences of their actions. They are incapable of understanding the right and wrong of what they did. Most people will think that this woman must have been insane to kill her own child. Was she legally insane however? This is a difficult question that only a trained psychological professional can determine. She would be well served to have a defense attorney who is familiar with mental disease and illness.  Such mental health issues pose serious issues that must be resolved before this case can be tried properly.”

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