Judge orders Mel Reynolds to find new home away from children

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A judge ordered former congressman Mel Reynolds to find a new place to live or be sent to jail because of a previous conviction. (WLS)

A judge has ordered former congressman Mel Reynolds to find a new place to live or be sent to jail. Reynolds is not allowed to live near children because of a previous conviction.

Federal Judge Maria Valdez issued a ruling approving Mel Reynolds' lodging for the night just before 4 p.m.

During his arraignment on the misdemeanor charge that he failed to file four years of income tax returns, pre-trial services pointed out that Reynolds, who was convicted 20 years ago for having sex with an underage campaign worker, should not be living at the South Side address where he slept last night because the house is within 500 feet of a school, which is a violation of state law even though Reynolds is not listed as a registered sex offender.

"How is this justice?" Reynolds wondered. "For 20 years, what laws have I broken in 20 years? Doesn't your conduct, your positive conduct, mean anything?"

"The only one that made an issue is Pre-Trial, but now that Pre-Trial has made an issue the court has an issue obviously the court has to listen," said Reynolds' attorney Richard Kling.

Following the 1995 sexual abuse conviction, Reynolds spent two and half years in a state prison, then another three and a half years in federal custody after he was found guilty in an unrelated campaign and bank fraud case.

Then last year, he was jailed several days in Zimbabwe, East Africa, for allegedly having pornographic images on his cell phone. Those charges were eventually dropped.

Kling would not say where Reynolds will spend the night. He is due back in court Thursday at 2 p.m., at which time he'll have to provide a more permanent address where he will reside for the duration of his trial.

"At two o'clock she will official enter the conditions of bond, which have to be approved be Pre-Trial," Kling said.

Reynolds claims federal investigators are piling on in the tax case because he is African-American.

"This is indicative of the racist criminal justice system in America," he said.

Related Topics:
politicstrialtax evasionChicago - Downtown
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