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You have likely heard of the Sex Offender Registry, but have you ever heard of the Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry? Likely not, as this type of registry is not as widely publicized and only exists in Illinois and four other states – Oklahoma, Montana, Kansas, and Indiana. The Illinois State Police Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry is a list that provides the public with the names, addresses, and recent photos of certain convicts who live in the state. If you are facing a serious criminal charge or have already been convicted of a crime in Illinois be sure to consult with a local criminal defense attorney about the Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registration Act in order to discuss the registry and determine if it has the potential to impact your life.

Who is Required to Register?

The Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registration Act is contained in code section 730 ILCS 154/1 and details the parameters of the registry. Under the Act, any conviction or adjudication of any of the following statutes requires registration if the victim is less than 18 years old:

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A 6-year-old boy from East Moline who was kidnapped in Illinois and taken to Thailand was recently returned home safe and sound. Interestingly, the man who kidnapped the boy is actually his own father. According to WTHITV 10, the boy was not returned to his mother on June 19th after a court arranged visitation with his estranged father. The next day, the East Moline Police Department issued a warrant for the father’s arrest and, after working with several federal agencies, was able to track the father to Bangkok where he had been detained by local authorities for an immigration violation. The kidnapped child was turned over to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and was returned to his mother on July 12th. According to the authorities, the father has been charged with kidnapping.

Is it Possible to Kidnap Your Own Child?

In Illinois, a person can be convicted of kidnapping (720 ILCS 5/10-1) if they knowingly and secretly confine another against his or her will:

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According to the Chicago Tribune, a Pittsburgh Pirates infielder who was in town to play the Chicago Cubs on June 17 has been accused of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman in Chicago. The sexual assault allegation is currently being investigated by police, but the baseball player has not yet been charged with a crime. According to the police, the Chicago woman made contact with the infielder via a dating app and the two agreed to meet at his hotel room at approximately 10 p.m. The woman alleges that that he served her one alcoholic drink that caused her to black out roughly 15 minutes later, and that he sexually assaulted her while she drifted in and out of consciousness. The alleged victim had a rape kit done two days later and filed a complaint with the police 10 days after the alleged sexual assault took place. While this woman took action quickly to have a rape kit done and file a police report, it is important to know that after a sexual assault occurs there is a timeframe within which rape kits must be done and sexual assault charges must be filed in order to be effective.

Rape Kits

A ‘rape kit’, also referred to as a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK), is a sexual assault forensic exam kit that is used to collect DNA evidence from a victim’s body, clothing, and other personal belongings after a crime is committed. Rape kits are used to help sexual assault victims preserve possible DNA evidence in case they decide to report that they were attacked. During a sexual assault forensic exam the survivor will generally be examined from head-to-toe, evidence will be collected, and follow up care will be recommended. According to Cleveland.com, rape kits can usually recover testable evidence within 96 hours of an assault. Therefore, the fact that the alleged victim in the sexual assault case outlined above had a rape kit conducted two days after she went to the baseball player’s hotel room should not have prevented DNA evidence from being collected.

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The Chicago Tribune reports that a 22-year-old schizophrenic man was recently charged with murdering his cousin in Cook County. Supposedly the defendant was standing on the street with his cousin and a few other people when the group started making fun of the defendant for being mentally slow. Allegedly, the defendant responded by firing a semi-automatic handgun into his cousin’s neck, chin, and chest. The cousin died shortly after and now the shooter is charged with murder. While there are several ways to defend against a murder charge, arguing insanity may be a viable defense strategy for this particular defendant.

Illinois’ Insanity Defense

In Illinois, a person can not be held criminally responsible for their conduct if a mental disease or mental defect caused that person to lack the substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of his or her conduct, according to our state’s Criminal Code (720 ILCS 5/6-2). In other words, if a mental defect caused you to not appreciate the criminality of what you were doing while you were committing the crime, then the legal defense of insanity is available to you. Illinois’ insanity defense statute also notes that if a defendant was mentally ill at the time of the crime, but was not insane, then that defendant is still liable for his or her criminal act as it is possible to be found guilty but mentally ill in Illinois. However, in order to successfully claim the insanity defense, the defendant has the burden of providing clear and convincing evidence sufficient to prove that he or she was insane when the crime was committed and, therefore, is not guilty by reason of insanity.

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a very serious offense and is one of the most commonly committed criminal offenses across America. In 2014 over 1.1 million people were arrested for DUI in the United States.  The penalties for DUI can vary greatly from state to state and it is important to know what you are facing should you be arrested for DUI in Illinois. As always it is best to first consult an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible following your arrest.28412613255_7e6cedee01

What Constitutes DUI in Illinois

Illinois Compiled Statute 625 is the state’s controlling law for DUI.  It states that anyone who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle within the state with a blood alcohol content of over .08 or while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to the extent they are unable to drive safely is guilty of DUI.

Illinois has some of the strictest domestic violence laws in the country – enacted to recognize the serious negative impact of domestic violence on thousands of Illinois families and children. Unfortunately, with increased awareness and enforcement surrounding  these important domestic violence issues comes a greater chance of wrongful convictions.27554520141_9b38f83133

Our firm takes domestic violence allegations very seriously, while at the same time understanding that false accusations do occur, especially in emotionally charged situations like child custody disputes. If you find yourself facing domestic violence charges in Chicago, our criminal defense attorneys with experience fighting false claims of family abuse can help you seek to clear your name.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Illinois?

The moral and legal implications of traffic cameras are still hotly debated, but it seems Illinois residents may as well get accustomed to these robotic enforcement mechanisms. Illinois is one of only twelve states that permits the use of both speed and red light traffic cameras for ticketing purposes. Given the questionable nature of this practice, there are a multitude of Illinois regulations and policies regarding the use of traffic cameras currently in place. It may be necessary to seek legal advice in order to decipher the jargon surrounding the use of traffic cameras if you receive a ticket in the mail from the Illinois Department of Transportation.3066426344_d78da3f025

How Traffic Cameras are Used       

Traffic cameras are present on many major Illinois roads and highways including right here in Joliet and the greater Chicago area. The most common traffic cameras currently used are to enforce red lights. These cameras work by taking a snapshot of each vehicle’s license plate who is detected driving while the traffic light is red. Though in place for public safety and traffic law enforcement, these cameras have brought criticism from citizens around the state, as to both their efficiency in targeting actual violators and their infringement on the individual rights of Illinois’ commuters.

Recently, the Illinois Medical Amnesty Law went into effect. The law, which grants immunity to underage drinkers who call 911 to report an alcohol-related injury, was partly inspired by a similar heroin exemption passed a few years ago. Both laws attempt to address the increasing number of tragic deaths caused by alcohol consumption, many of which could have been avoided but for a minor’s refusal to contact emergency personnel out of fear of prosecution.27610858980_e46bf5182e

Current Law

Under current Illinois law, the crime of possessing, consuming, purchasing, or receiving alcohol while under the age of 21 years old is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by  a driver’s license suspension or revocation for up to one year. The minor is also required to pay a minimum fine of $500 and complete 25 hours of community service. Transporting alcohol while underage is also illegal under Illinois law and any passenger in the car can be charged with a maximum fine of $1,000. The driver faces a one year mandatory driver’s license suspension for a first offense and a one year revocation for any subsequent offenses.

79aaa5031c08291c62c195e3bbb734c1At first blush, the idea of predictive policing sounds a lot like something out of the movie Minority Report. In order to target their policing efforts, the Chicago Police Department uses a high-tech database of persons, which it refers to as the Strategic Subject List, who are most likely to be shot or to shoot someone. With murder rate on the rise, up 50% from last year, and an ever-increasing number of shooting victims, the department has ramped up its raids and is actively using this database to prevent violent crime. In the first half of 2016, there were 1934 shooting victims and 326 homicide victims in Chicago. From January 1 to December 31 of 2015, these figures were 2988 and 490, respectively. See Chicago Tribune articles for more. Chicago homicides; Chicago shootings.

The “list” contains a list of persons who are most likely to be shot soon or to shoot someone based on a computer algorithm that calculates a score based on arrests, shootings, affiliations with gang members and other variables. It ranks each person based on their score; the higher one’s score, the higher the probability he or she may be a victim or perpetrator of gun violence.  The algorithm does not use race, ethnicity, gender, or geography as a factor.

In the last two months, this list has helped the police crack down on deeply entrenched drug rings, particularly in Uptown and East Garfield Park. According to Chief Anthony Riccio, the head of the Department’s Organized Crime Division, the drug operations were run by local street gangs, and the proceeds from drug sales went to buying guns and funding other criminal acts by the gangs. In the last week of April, 70 people were arrested in East Garfield. Of the 70 people, 54 were charged with felony narcotics delivery or possession; nearly all of them – 49 out of 54 – were on the Department’s Strategic Subjects List. An additional 16 people were arrested in drug raids in Uptown during the same time period. Police targeted the drug rings that were selling heroin laced with fentanyl, which has been causing fatal overdoses in Chicago and its suburbs.   

file0002022362803One in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college, according to a recent study by the Association of American Universities. Despite the alarming prevalence of rape on campuses, many universities remain complacent or unresponsive in reacting to reports of rape. The aggressive White House initiatives and campaigns, led by a task force formed in 2014, have transformed the way colleges and universities respond to allegations of sexual misconduct, as well as the level of awareness among college students about rape and the culture of rape.

Ending sexual violence on campuses across the nation has been one of the Obama Administration’s most passionate policy initiatives since 2011. The Department of Education and Vice President Biden published a comprehensive guideline for universities to help them understand their legal obligations under federal law. In January 2014, the administration established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. In April of that year, the Task Force launched a public awareness and education campaign called “It’s On Us.” to further advance and galvanize efforts across the nation to prevent sexual assault. The campaign has sought “to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault, by inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it.” See White House Press Release on “It’s On Us.”

Since the launch of the campaign, more than 344,400 people have taken the White House pledge, and 530 schools in 48 states currently have active It’s On Us chapters. Reports of campus sexual assault have surged in the last few years, which legal experts attributed to increased awareness and knowledge of the issue.