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Farnham gets $4500 bond, home confinement

Thursday, May 1, 2014

* Really?

A former Illinois state representative charged with possession of child pornography was released Wednesday on $4,500 bond but ordered confined to his home pending a trial.

Former Illinois State Rep. Keith Farnham, 66, was charged Monday after two child pornography videos were found on a computer seized from his Elgin office in March, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

A federal judge on Wednesday banned him from using computers or having unsupervised contact with anyone under 18.

* Even a cursory reading of the federal complaint would make one question this judge’s decision. More

Farnham was charged Monday with possessing two videos depicting child pornography on a computer that was seized from his state office in Elgin a week before his abrupt resignation in March.

The federal criminal complaint also alleged he used personal and state-owned computers to trade hundreds of images and videos depicting child pornography and engage in graphic online chats in which he allegedly bragged about sexually molesting a 6-year-old girl. Authorities also linked a Yahoo email account used by Farnham to an online trading forum in which he chatted with other users about his sexual preferences, according to the charges.


* Sorry, but I don’t care about his physical health

On Wednesday, Farnham looked gaunt and carried a portable oxygen tank. He answered “yes” to the judge when asked if he understood his rights.

Shortly after the brief hearing, Farnham’s attorney, Terry Ekl, told reporters he had not reviewed the case and could not discuss the evidence.

Ekl said his client has serious medical conditions, including a past bout with bladder cancer. Farnham is also in need of a lung transplant, Ekl said.

“Between his physical health and these charges, he’s having a very difficult time,” Ekl said.


My own personal opinion about what Farnham ought to do now would get me banned from my own blog.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    You never know with judges and setting bonds. But I assume that Farnham has the means to lawyer up pretty good, and you can’t underestimate that factor in criminal cases. You get what you pay for.

  2. - RonOglesby - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:06 am:

    I was just talking to a neighbor that works in the court system (parole/probation side) and he couldnt believe this guy was on the street. Now he gets a bond… Really?

    two sets of laws I guess. If it was the same charge against Phil the plumber in Aurora would it be a 4500 buck bond and home confinement? No.

  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    Couldn’t agree with Rich more, but I want to avoid a ban as well.

  4. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    Child pornography is incredibly repulsive. It cut through all attempts at rational logic and goes straight through to your biological and most basic instinct to exterminate the adults who enjoy it.

    Sometimes I read of parents gaining super-human physical strength to save their child from harm. Sometimes I read of parents racing into burning buildings, swimming across dangerous waters or sacrificing themselves in order to rescue a child.

    This is instinctual. This is why we still exist as a species.

    So it is with the clearest understanding of why I feel this way when I say that anyone guilty of enjoying child pornography or participating in it, needs to be put away from society for as long as we possibly can.

    These people kill human souls.

  5. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:19 am:

    This is the kind of thing that destroys confidence in the criminal justice system.

  6. - Carroll County - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    As John Edwards said, “Two Americas”.

  7. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    Looks like the judge bought the oxygen tank bit. Reminds me of the scene with the old mobsters in court in Casino.

  8. - Carroll County - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:25 am:

    Oxygen cannula in court, nice touch by the defense.

    Yea, I said it.

  9. - Oneman - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:28 am:


    Speaking as someone who reads the Aurora paper on-line, you are correct the folks in our area who get caught for this sort of thing do not get a $4500 bond.

  10. - Roadiepig - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:36 am:

    Old, ill child molesters are still child molesters. The fact that he played the sick card to possibly get preferential treatment (and it appears to have worked) sickens me. Studies have shown that the vast majority of sub-humans who sexually prey on children will continue to do so when the opportunity presents itself, even after serving time, has lead me to the point where I really don’t think these predators should ever walk the street as free members of society.

    Anything else I would like to say will likely get me banned, so I will stop now…

  11. - shore - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    this is the kind of post where you turn comments off. I think virtually all of us are thinking the same thing.

  12. - Wumpus - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    shore, but none of us have said it!

    His wife did such a bang up job of knowing what he was doing before this all happened.

  13. - train111 - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    I can’t figure out how his wife could be his custodian. I would think she would have told him “have a nice life” 5 minutes after the feds left their home with a computer.

  14. - Westward - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    America, a place where equality is the exception, not the rule. Repulsive being cut loose on bond. Any bond. I have to echo a comment: someone posted in the original post of his arrest, “it’s a sickness, I hope he gets the help he needs” or something along those line. Puh-leese. Choices. That’s what people make. Seems like people, some people, want to put every bad decision into the DSM5. Double puh-leese. Someone needs to blow up the personality crutch factory.

  15. - Abraham Froman - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    What is statute of limitations on his admission of molestation? I would hope another charge is possible given the confession.

  16. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    Saw that and thought it was bizarre. Home confinement? That’s what got him into trouble in the first place. This judge should take a clue from the guy in Montana who stupidly sentenced a teacher to 30 days in prison for raping a student who later killed herself, because, well, she basically asked for it. The Supreme Court of Montana just overturned that idiocy. Someone should do the same here.

  17. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    Seems like a bit too much consideration for the medical condition. Can we at least get signage to keep kids away from the house?

    As pointed out above, the wife may not be up to security….

  18. - Wensicia - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    It’s sad that a criminal who delightfully pandered the videos of child rape and torture would receive so little in the way of bond and imprisonment from a judge, no matter what the influence or affluence of the defendant, or his supposed medical condition.

  19. - ed - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    This judge can’t be stupid enough to believe the sick card.The decision was pure favoritism and pathetic.

  20. - Tribulations - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    Going out on a limb here. Maybe the judge is giving Farnham a better opportunity than if he was in jail to take his own life.

  21. - Kerfuffle - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    Sandusky is looking for a roomate. Perhaps it could be expedited with a quick guilty plea.

  22. - Jake From Elwood - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    I know innocent until proven guilty……but oof.

  23. - Siriusly - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    Are there no sick people in our jails? Nobody with cancer in our prison system? Sorry sick or not - a person accused of a crime like this not be on home confinement. Lawmakers should be held to higher standards - not lower. Totally ridiculous.

    The prosecution should appeal this bond order !

  24. - Snucka - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    If the videos involved kids under 12, which appears to be the case, Farnham faces up to 20 years. A quick look at the guidelines returns a possible range of 33-41 months. Hopefully the judge has used up all his leniency and will hand down a 10+ year sentence.

  25. - corvax - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    I wouldn’t have been surprised if a state circuit court judge were playing favorites, but a federal district court judge? I don’t get it.

  26. - A guy... - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    I didn’t read the complaint after seeing the comments last week. After reading one line about bragging about molesting a 6 year old, it should make anyone sick. To all who warned last week, thanks for the warning.

    Here’s my take on the judge. This pathetic jerk is entitled to a trial. I doubt the court system has anywhere they can put this creep to guarantee his safety until trial. Once convicted and sentenced, that’s no longer the same concern. The judge is probably trying to insure a fair trial so the ingrate doesn’t have any wiggle room. Hope he stays healthy enough for his trial. I’m about to type something to get my butt banned. So I’ll stop. Ugh.

  27. - Rod - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:36 pm:

    Unfortunately the Federal attorney could not apparently find evidence that Rep Farnham actually did rape a 6 year old child as he claimed in his email because there was no charge related to that. I am not sure Farnham could be imprisoned because he was a flight risk.

    In 1984 Congress replaced the Bail Reform Act of 1966 with new bail law, codified at United States Code, Title 18, Sections 3141-3150. The main innovation of the new law is that it allows pre-trial detention of individuals based upon their danger to the community; under prior law and traditional bail statutes in the U.S., pre-trial detention was to be based solely upon the risk of flight.

    18 U.S.C. § 3142(f) provides that only persons who fit into certain categories are subject to detention without bail: persons charged with a crime of violence, an offense for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death, certain drug offenses for which the maximum offense is greater than 10 years, repeat felony offenders, or if the defendant poses a serious risk of flight, obstruction of justice, or witness tampering. There is a special hearing held to determine whether the defendant fits within these categories; anyone not within them must be admitted to bail.

    The Supreme Court upheld the 1984 Act’s provision providing for pretrial detention based on community-danger in United States v. Salerno. It appears that the Judge in this situation ruled within the construct of law.

    Do I like it, no I don’t.

  28. - The Prince - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    Corvax: All judges are political.

  29. - FormerParatrooper - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    Home confinement is unacceptable regardless of his “health”. It appears to be a favor to a politician instead of a blind justice system.

    Child abusers are the worst of our kind, they deserve no special consideration and should be afforded nothing more than their Constitutional right to a air and speedy trial. Afterwards the guilty should hang.

  30. - AgentOrange - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    You media types have got to quit linking the amount of bond with your outrage at the underlying crime. Nobody is minimizing the allegation here, but bond amount is only concerned with imposing the minimum necessary to insure the defendant will not flee the jurisdiction or hurt anybody while the case is pending. This guy is an old, infirm ex-pol who wouldn’t get 50 miles before he’s picked up. Moreover, as hateful as child victimization is, possession of kiddie porn is not legally a violent crime (like murder or aggravated battery) in the sense that Farnham personally caused injury to another person–understanding, of course, that, like dealing drugs, there is a socially harmful result in creating a market for trade of contraband.

    The media reports bond as if it was the score at the end of the first quarter, when it’s legally an entirely separate issue from the crime or the likelihood of guilt.

  31. - rafeloves baseball - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    Amazing to me that everybody assumes he is guilty -like a lynch mob mentality. Same thing happened with that crazy old owner of the Clippers. In both cases, no one was killed or raped or shot. Words said in a confidential counseling session; and mere possession. But everyone feels the urge to record our outrage at racism and child pornography. That’s fine, but let’s ratchet down the rhetoric and let the system take its course!

  32. - Gabe - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:07 pm:

    Can’t un-read that.

  33. - Responsa - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    If there is anyone else currently living in the home I wonder if they had any input on whether “home confinement” of this sicko in their living space was acceptable to them. It would not be to me.

  34. - Anon - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    == a person accused of a crime like this should not be on home confinement ==

    The purpose of bail is not to punish the accused but to secure his return for trial. It may be the judge does not see Farnham as a flight risk, and sees no priors.

  35. - Nonplussed - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    rafeloves baseball: Farnham is the one who quit before he was indicted. “Mere possession” of child pornography is a crime. And you can’t be sure that the children in the porn he had on his computer weren’t “raped”.

    Also, innocent until proven guilty is the standard in a court of law; we are free to judge him now.

    I hope you are merely a troll and not actually as stupid as your post suggests

  36. - John A Logan - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    Sounds as if he is already reaping what he has sown.

  37. - Wumpus - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    Yeah, sit at home all day on the computer and watching tv. Brilliant!

  38. - ANON - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    The conditions of pretrial release are not meant to be, and constitutionally cannot be, a form of punishment. The accused is presumed innocent, no matter how apparent his guilt may be to us, and therefore is not to be punished. The conditions of pretrail release are about making sure the accused shows up for trial. So the health considerations aren’t about feeling sorry for the accused. Health is a factor because someone who is ill may be less likely to flee than someone who is of perfect health.

  39. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 1:57 pm:

    ANON, do you know how many poor people languish in jail for months or years before their trials because they can’t afford bond? This bond is ridiculous.

  40. - Oneman - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 2:10 pm:

    rafeloves baseball –


    Don’t know if you have, but if you think you have the stomach for it, got read the actual complaint and tell me the rhetoric here isn’t restrained. I think I speak for everyone when I say what I have written here vs what I am thinking is likely the most restrained I have been in my adult life.

    I don’t think anyone is saying hang him from the highest yardarm in the fleet at this point. But I think asking if someone charged with a crime like this should be free on a low bail….

    Also if you are trying to equate the possession of this sort of material as being the same as drug possession, good luck with that.

  41. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    Forfeiting $4,500 wouldn’t stop anyone facing these charge from running, if they were so inclined. The judge might as well have set no bond at all.

  42. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    Unbelievable. Say it ain’t so…

    == During his stay in Springfield, he co-sponsored legislation designed to toughen penalties against those who would sexually abuse children. ==

  43. - SAP - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    == Moreover, as hateful as child victimization is, possession of kiddie porn is not legally a violent crime (like murder or aggravated battery) in the sense that Farnham personally caused injury to another person–understanding, of course, that, like dealing drugs, there is a socially harmful result in creating a market for trade of contraband. == Even if Farnham did not personally rape very young children, someone commited the worst of atrocities on many very young children and Farnham knew about it and he encouraged it. That’s not even in the same universe as drug dealing.

  44. - Formerpol - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 2:37 pm:

    Rich: 95% of arrested poor people get out on bond -especially when, like Farnham, they have no priors, ties to family or community, do not pose a physical danger, and are in ill-health. He’s not a flight risk.Other arrestees lack these attributes and are held. Judges and Courts are supposed to ignore the public passions - like those revealed by your bloggers. And Nonplussed: do you realize that you lose the debate when you resort to 7th Grade name calling instead of reason?

  45. - West Sider - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    ===My own personal opinion about what Farnham ought to do now would get me banned from my own blog.====

    Rich- I think you speak for most of us. Thanks for giving me a laugh- it keeps me from dry heaving.

  46. - Lil Squeezy - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    I walked over to the Capitol building from his office a week or two before he resigned. He didn’t need an air tank then. I know he has health issues but I don’t recall him even walking slowly. I know health matters can change quickly, but….

    Also, I thought he did comment on assaulting a child. That is what I heard but I couldn’t read past 6 7 8.

    But I have thought this whole thing was odd, it seemed like a long wait in between the search and the arrest.

  47. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    ===I walked over to the Capitol building from his office a week or two before he resigned===

    He had a reception at the Sangamo Club a week or two before the feds seized his computers. I dropped by to see some other folks and chatted with him. He didn’t appear to be in especially bad health. I mean, it’s session. It can wear on you. He looked like someone during session to me.

  48. - Lil Squeezy - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    I also have a hard time understanding how you are not an accessary to a violent crime if you watch child pornography. There is no child pornography if there is no audience.

    He knows of the crime being committed, he didn’t report it, and compensated the persons involved for committing the crime.

  49. - FormerParatrooper - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 4:50 pm:

    Lil squeezy you hit on a point that is troublesome. I dont understand how watching child porn does not make someone an accessory to that crime. It is time to change that.

  50. - Scott L - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 4:56 pm:

    If this guy hurts someone this judge should be impeached

  51. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 6:59 pm:

    Did they at least take his passport? I wouldn’t be surprised if he was thinking about trying to get to Paraguay or other non-extradition country because he’s not going to last long in prison. I sure they keep an eye on him so he doesn’t make a run for it. And I sure hope they’ve taken away all of the computers in the house.

  52. - Streator Curmudgeon - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 8:14 pm:

    Farnham’s attorney, Terry Ekl, also represented a woman in Lasalle County who alleged she was illegally strip searched after a DUI charge. The county recently settled with Dana Holmes and four other people for a total of $350,000. You may remember seeing the video of Holmes’ treatment on national TV or the Net.

    Farnham’s case is yet another example of one law for Them, another law for Us.

  53. - Elder - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 9:18 pm:

    Did anyone, anyone have any idea what kind of a creep this guy is? I dealt with him on legislation, and found him to be a spineless closet liberal, who only did what his Madigan staffer advised him. (I say this not to bash liberals - I am one, just not spineless.) So did anyone who dealt with him more than me have any clue? Or was this just a completely closeted sickness?

  54. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 1, 14 @ 9:40 pm:

    –Farnham’s attorney, Terry Ekl, –

    That explains the bond. He lawyered-up real good.

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