Articles Posted in Prisoners Committing Crime

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Previously on the Federal Prison Blog was the story of Kenneth Conley and Joseph “The Second Hand Bandit” Banks, their escape from MCC Chicago last December, and their prompt capture. As the Chicago Sun Times reports, Banks has written the Court in anticipation of sentencing, offering insight into The Not So Great Escape:

“It came unexpected and it happened fast,” Banks, 38, writes, saying it was an “opportunity presenting itself.”

 Banks’ luck began when he was housed in a cell with a “perfect exiting route.”

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Mike Scarcellaat The Blog of The Legal Times has an interesting post regarding an appeal pending before the Fourth Circuit that challenges the constitutional validity of a (dated) federal law, through which the government sought to criminalize the possession of a cell phone in prison:


The ex-inmate, Johnny Beason, was caught with a mobile phone before congressional changes, via the Cell Phone Contraband Act, went into effect in late 2010.[…]
Here’s the issue: Did Beason have “fair and sufficient notice” that his possession of a mobile phone opened him up to criminal liability? Beason’s attorneys, Brian Kornbrath and Kristen Leddy, who work for federal public defender offices in West Virginia, contend the old law is unconstitutional for its vagueness. A cell phone, the attorneys said, “has a legal purpose and productive uses, which can carry over to the prison environment.”
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As noted in this post, on December 18 two recently convicted bank robbers, Mark Conley and Joseph “The Second Hand Bandit” Banks, escaped from MCC Chicago. According to The Chicago Tribune, the investigation revealed:

Conley, 38, was awaiting sentencing for a single bank holdup when authorities said he and Banks removed a cinder block from their cell wall and scaled down about 15 stories of the sheer wall of the jail early on Dec. 18. The cellmates were last accounted for during a routine bed check, authorities said. About 7 a.m. the next day, jail employees arriving for work saw the bedsheets dangling from a hole in the wall down the south side of the facade.
The FBI said a surveillance camera a few blocks from the jail showed the two wearing light-colored clothing hailing a taxi at Congress Parkway and Michigan Avenue about 2:40 a.m. They also appeared to be wearing backpacks, according to the FBI.