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zjrupeakpzi-aidan-meyer-300x200Some defendants who are deemed to be indigent might be debating whether it is worth their while to get an attorney to represent them in a criminal case. They might rationalize their decision on the basis that there is a good alternative for making use of the public defender or any other court-appointed attorney for legal advice. That is not something that we would advise. You should have legal representation of some sort in any case . If you can, make sure that you hire one because someone whom you have paid is within your control. You can motivate or demotivate them using the payments that are advanced. The public defenders are only there due to a service calling and their obligations as professionals. That means that their work is mainly guided by the strictures of the institutions within which they operate.

Those strictures may not necessarily be in the best interest of the defendant. For example, following an outcry about authorities that are lenient on criminals, there have been significant budget cuts that tend to target the public defense fund. The problem with such an arrangement is that it leads to reduced services and even impaired quality in terms of delivering a standard of defense that is in the interests of justice. There are many people who are convicted and sentenced for no other reason than the fact that they have committed the cardinal sin of not having sufficient money to pay for a good lawyer. This is a situation that defendants should avoid because a conviction can have significant and unintended consequences.

Making the Best Use of the Legal Resources Available

mingyue-sun-153025-300x169The crime that is antisocial behavior is not marked by some grand event or big scandal that can be curtailed through legal controls. Rather, it is a series of events and misdemeanors that eventually add up to a toxic atmosphere of disorder in the streets of Chicago. Indeed, this is the type of crime that is most likely to be closer to the citizenry because it happens to them on a daily basis. The fact that the crimes, when looked at as individual incidents rather than as a whole, do not meet the gravity and sensationalism that is required to capture the attention of our contemporary 24-hour media cycle means that victims often suffer in silence. They protest, but when they realize that nothing is going to be done about it, they accept antisocial behavior as part of the cost of living in some parts of Chicago.

From a legal point of view, this is a situation that is no longer sustainable. There is an expectation that the residents of Chicago will be able to enjoy their neighborhoods in peace without being disturbed by criminals. At the same time, the legislation must be written in such a way as not to go overboard. The fight against crime and its causes can seep into hyperbole and grand political gestures that do not deal with the underlying problems. For example, legislating against drunken behavior is not enough when youth are idle due to unemployment. The authorities must take a systemic and holistic approach to resolving these entrenched problems.

Setting up a Reasonable and Workable Regime

3scbuulajgg-matthew-hamilton-300x200Chicago has stringent accident laws that are designed to punish those who leave the scene of an accident without exchanging their information with the other parties involved. Although some members of the public consider this to be an intrusion, the reality is that it is one of the tools designed to enhance public safety. It means that hit-and-run incidents will be few and far between. Moreover, the fact that the police are summoned means that there is less room for disagreement about the nature of the interventions at a later stage. Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense in Chicago and may land the defendant in jail if he or she cannot provide a convincing explanation for that behavior. The best thing to do when involved in an accident is to wait for the police and call your lawyer.

The lawyer will ensure that the defendant does not say anything that is unduly incriminating or even harmful to his or her cause. The rationale is that accidents happen. If the individuals are properly insured, then there is no question about costs because those will be met by the insurer. Running away from the scene raises doubts as to whether there are other underlying factors that the defendant is not addressing in terms of his or her criminal culpability. The police may decide to investigate further as a means of understanding what has happened and why it has happened. It helps to travel with your driver’s license or even some reference to your insurer so that they can be reached in case you are unconscious.

Classification of the Offense and Possible Consequences

3scbuulajgg-matthew-hamilton-300x200If you were to ask any experienced defendant whether he or she would want to be represented by a public defender, the results might indicate a high level of unwillingness. This reluctance to place trust in a public defender is a consequence of years a negative reputation, which has been reinforced by a system that employs many people who have no business working in criminal justice, let alone any other helping profession. At the same time, we know that many of the people who are charged with a criminal offense do not have the funds to hire an expert attorney to represent them. The national statistics indicate an indigence level of about 80% amongst all arrestees.

Since poor people make up a disproportionately large segment of those who are arrested for felonies, the services of the public defender become an important cornerstone of the criminal justice system. Negligent and incompetent public defenders not only let down their immediate clients but also reduce public confidence in the system. This might mean that innocent people decide to abscond rather than take their chances with a system that has been shown to be unfair and unpredictable.

It is all too easy to write off the public defender as a practically failed attorney who cannot make it in the commercial world. We also question whether these defenders provide value for money. At the same time, we know that some public defenders are among the most committed and hardworking members of the legal community. What, then, is the problem that makes them yield such poor results?

antonio-grosz-148540-copy-300x200Today, hate crimes are at the forefront of the struggle to create safe communities for everyone int his country. Those that accused the legislators of political correctness still make their points, but the vast majority of the public recognizes that hate crimes are never acceptable and must be prosecuted with the vigor that they deserve. Chicago is one of the areas that has struggled with a significant upsurge in hate crimes.

The state decided to tackle the problem using a combination of community policing, sensitization, and even outright legislation: the Illinois Hate Crime Act (IHCA), which is summarized under the legislative instrument number 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1. There are many procedures and processes in place that are designed to ensure that a fair and accurate outcome is delivered. This is a response to the historical and long-standing abuses in the criminal justice system, which ensured that many culprits of hate crimes got away with them. At the height of the Civil Rights movements, the Ku Klux Klan was literally enforcing its own version of vigilante justice against those who were deemed to be racially inferior.

Understanding the Imperatives and Implications of the New Regime

wil-stewart-24563-copy-300x200The prosecutor or defending attorney who deals with underage drinking in Chicago is probably one of the busiest in the business. This is a law that catches the people who are most vulnerable to breaking it. At the moment, the minimum drinking age is 21 years, but some consider it too high with the suggestion for a reduction to as low as 16 years of age. It is important to note that this is a law that not only captures those who infringe on it directly but also parents who host the offenders. That means that legal ramifications of underage drinking can go beyond merely arresting and releasing an impulsive teenager.

There are certain unique parts of the law that are designed to capture the realities of life in Chicago. For example, recognition is given to the fact that some parents legitimately allow their children to drink alcohol as part of religious ceremonies. The provision comes with a supervisory requirement, which otherwise makes it a crime. Therefore, the parent must be supervising the child when he or she is consuming alcohol for religious purposes. Moreover, such activity must only take place within the confines of the family home and nowhere else. Otherwise, it is still a crime.

Responsibilities and Terms

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Any death in custody is a tragedy on a personal level, but it also raises civil rights issues that cannot be ignored. For example, race and class are important predictors of vulnerability of incarcerated individuals. Many of the people that die in custody are poor and ethnic minorities. Whether the police admit it or not, the public perceives systemic abuses that culminate in the violation of people’s basic and fundamental rights. The case of Laquan McDonald is no longer that unique. The typical narrative seems to be that of a white officer shooting an unarmed young black man. Although the law enforcement agencies try to argue that this a reflection of criminal proclivities, the reality is that the disproportion is so great as to cause public disquiet.

In the courts, the judges are primed to believe the law enforcement agencies until and unless there is irrefutable evidence against them. The introduction of the video camera and smart phone has meant that local vigilantes can poke holes into the official story that is provided by the police. Whether this is a positive development is open to debate. The mantra of institutional racism has become a catchall phrase for all the ills and mismanagement that are associated with law enforcement agencies across the board, and not just within the precincts of Chicago.

When the Duty of Care is Not Met

elliott-stallion-105205-copy-300x200The battle for same-day voter registration in Chicago highlights some of the constitutional anomalies and controversies that have dogged the USA since its inception. All the judicial decisions made are subject to intense debate. There are those that believe in the absolute right to access the ballot regardless of the bureaucratic inconvenience that it causes. Others are of the view that if you really want to vote, then the government does provide avenues for you to vote. By the same token, if you fail to turn up, there is nobody but yourself to blame for that particular failing.

Meanwhile, the civil rights activists are up in arms about the possible exclusion of whole swathes of the populace who are simply unable to fulfill the bureaucratic requirements for voting in Chicago. The courts have traditionally been reluctant to create rights where none exist and also to prevent the use of arbitrary decision-making. One particular area of contention involves the perceived and actual differences between the rules that apply in rural areas of Illinois and those that are associated with the urban centers.

The Rationale for Voter Registration Law

spenser-h-194645-copy-300x195Chicago is a city that has long been criticized for failing on transparency, accountability, and justice issues. Some of these criticisms are not based on fact but are rather like urban myths. They grow and have lives of their own, the facts of the matter being largely inconsequential. The city has adopted a unique approach that takes into consideration the views and perspectives of those who work within the criminal justice system. Hence, there are proposals for a sitting or retired judge to oversee the entire process. This inclusive approach brings the police into the fold rather than treating them as sworn enemies of civil liberties.

Other cities have a somewhat different approach to reform. They consider their own law enforcement agencies to be fundamentally anti-people. Therefore, the reform process is necessarily imposed on them rather than being a natural progression towards organizational development. In this case, the format is that of a public inquiry with all the requisite appearance of interrogations and investigations.

Not surprisingly, some members of the Chicago police forces are not entirely pleased with the latter approach. They believe that they too are part of the reform agenda and desire to provide high-quality services to the citizenry. Even when mistakes are made, they are nothing more than that. It is not a case of corrupt agencies taking away the rights of the people.

samuel-zeller-4138-copy-300x198The temping industry in Chicago has often failed the minimum standards test when it comes to workers’ rights and other pertinent matters. For a start, many of these agencies will attempt to pay below the minimum wage or just at the minimum wage with the proviso that there are other agency fees that effectively reduce the take-home pay even further. The hiring malpractice of some of some temping agencies includes engaging in unlawful discrimination based on age, race, gender, nationality, and disability. Even where there is compliance, it is often at a bare minimum in order to avoid prosecution.

This is an important consideration for the law not least because it entails a growing workforce sector that has significant implications for the economy. The people who are affected by the malpractice are some of the most vulnerable in the community, and they end up facing a judicial system that does not seem to respond to their needs. Unless it is a class action, this is not a very lucrative endeavor for lawyers, and that can sometimes hinder progress in terms of bringing the human rights issues to the fore.

Understanding How an Industry Can be Corrupted