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tim-graf-202490-copy-300x200Although the clemency law is meant to give a second chance to those who have been incarcerated, it can also be used to correct an injustice that has been committed as a consequence of faulty legislation. A case in point are the controversial laws that charge people with murder even if the person who actually did the killing is someone else. The felony murder rule is considered to be unfair, but politicians are unwilling to tackle it because of the fear of backlash from the public.

The basic premise of the law is that it is possible to charge someone for murder if someone dies during the commission of a list of felonies. This may not be so controversial if the dead person is the victim of the felony or an innocent bystander. However, it is an altogether different scenario if the dead person is an accomplice who was killed by the police or some other agency during an attempted apprehension.

The Case of Teenage Burglars

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225Few laws have done as much damage to the US criminal justice system as the “three strikes” rule that operates in places such as Chicago. The basic premise of the law is that if someone is convicted more than three times of the same or similar offenses, the judge can aggravate the crime to one that deserves a life sentence or an inordinately long prison sentence. The laws seemed reasonable at their inception because it was hoped that they would help to curtail recidivists and prolific offenders.

In reality, the three strikes rule has meant that the prison system is overcrowded with nonviolent offenders who are serving shockingly long prison sentences. It is indeed possible to have a longer prison sentence for a third offense of drug possession than a first instance of murder. Some legal experts have critiqued the law as being fundamentally unconstitutional because it touches on the privileges granted by the 8th Amendment to US citizens. Besides, the provisions deny defendants the right to a fair trial even when they have lawyers.

Tying the Judges’ Hands

alex-holyoake-202959-copy-300x200A number of legal issues arise when an employee of a company commits assault on one of its customers. The lines of liability can be blurred, not least because the crime occurs on a business premises. Moreover, the employees are deemed to be working on behalf of their company during office hours. A distinction has to be made between the personal liability of the employee and the corporate liability of the employer. A good lawyer is the key to success in any case.

The first critical consideration is that the employee who has committed the assault is criminally liable for those ctions. When it comes to the civil cases, the employer may be asked to compensate the customer for any demonstrated injuries. Such was a case when a number of ex-bouncers admitted to assaulting customers in a club based within the Chelmsford area of Chicago.

Case Study of Employees Who Commit Assault During Business Hours

tim-graf-202490-copy-300x200The most serious crime on the statute books of Chicago is murder, although international terrorism is also getting right up there in terms of seriousness. Quite often, the case hinges on three major components:

  • The actual commission of the crime
  • The motives behind the crime

diana-feil-226524-copy-200x300It is a sad fact, but it is still a true one: Gun violence in Chicago, Illinois is steadily climbing higher and higher. The amount of gun crimes taking place in the city is reaching what some consider to be an epidemic level, making residents feel fearful and unsafe. Meanwhile, there are two opposing camps that are warring over the best way to deal with the gun crime rates in the Windy City: Those who feel that more gun control is needed, and those who feel like less is needed. With gun violence on the rise and crime rates at unpleasant numbers, it is making dealing with the law itself increasingly difficult.

The Second Amendment

Until recently, guns could not even be purchased inside of Chicago. The local laws banned the sale of guns within the city limits. However, in 2016, this law was ruled as unconstitutional. Strong advocates of the Second Amendment were thrilled, but those in favor of gun control were not quite so happy with the outcome. Whatever the case, it became a fact of life: Guns were easier to obtain in Chicago. There is little evidence at the moment that gun laws were being broken either before or after this occurred, so the jury is still out on any strong connection.

nicolas-barbier-garreau-256433-copy-300x240In the legal world, few matters are as controversial as those that allow confiscation and forfeiture by the police. It is something that has dramatically polarized the two sides. It is rare that you will find someone who is neither truly “for” nor truly “against” these laws. Those who are in favor of the police departments being legally allowed to confiscate goods and money hold that law enforcement is taking away the proceeds of criminal enterprises. Staunch advocates, however, state that the police are nothing but thieves with badges who are taking the property of citizens without trials or due process. This issue is a complex one, to say the least.

Policing for Profit

To understand the law in Chicago, one must first understand what civil forfeiture and confiscation means and how it would apply to the person being affected by it. The standard rule of law used in Chicago dictates that police may confiscate property, including money, that meets certain criteria. These criteria are simple and, to some, are far too broad: Law enforcement officers have to believe that the property was used in a crime, is intended to be used in a crime, or has been obtained in connection with a crime. As you can see, this is a straightforward, if broad, list.

zjrupeakpzi-aidan-meyer-300x200Chicago is one of those cities that is conscious about the impact of human economic activity on the environment. You need a competent and qualified lawyer to ascertain your rights, privileges, duties, and responsibilities under the current regime. The state has put in place a number of interrelated regulations that are meant to ensure that there are some limits to human behavior in this respect. There is an implicit agreement with the local community that they will submit to the state for the greater public good. The issues of environmental protection are contentious. It is therefore not surprising that some people believe the state should adopt a hands-off approach in this respect. Nevertheless, there are certain minimum standards that are enforced in Chicago.

The environment is defined way beyond the ecological conceptualizations that many people associate with this section of the law. The environment can include land, air, water, and even space. The idea is that the public should be able to enjoy these amenities and facilities in a responsible way so as not to deplete or damage them. Some of the benefits of environmental protection are not restricted to the current generation but are more to do with the future generations. This is what is known as inter-generational solidarity, in which one generation is able to see beyond its immediate interests in order to protect natural resources for those that come after it.

Penalties for Unacceptable Behavior

markus-spiske-153537-200x300Cyber terrorism is a serious crime. Obviously, this falls on the higher end of the offenses that are committed on the internet. Chicago, like many states, is trying to update its laws in order to deal with these threats in an effective way, bearing in mind the fact that the technology is constantly changing. Likewise, there are employee training requirements for companies. The law firms that defend and participate in prosecutions are also coming to terms with the intricacies of the laws as well as the various regulations that have been put in place to regulate the activity that takes place on the internet.

One of the issues that has come to the fore is the possibility that in the pursuit of cyber legality, there is a danger of infringing on the privacy of Chicago citizens. The state and legislature are always willing to have more control over the activities of residents. However, that level of control might have serious implications in terms of protecting civil liberties and the integrity of the American Constitution. The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) has been at the forefront of advocacy work in this respect so as to moderate some of the excesses that are proposed in prospective legislation.

The Quagmire of Data Collection

daan-stevens-282446-copy-300x191It is a controversial move but one that is considered to be a reflection of the reality that many state governments are not able to sustain the increasing healthcare costs of their citizenry. Chicago is no exception, and its new managed care provisions reflect a need for reform. Recently, the state has amended the law in such a way as to move Medicaid users towards the more affordable managed care options. Like any change, there are political and legal ramifications to this one. Some have argued that the changes are inhumane and could actually constitute a illegal or unconstitutional act. At the moment, the supreme court has not yet fully pronounced itself on the matter.

Meanwhile, the provisions of the law continue to impact the citizens of Chicago. It is particularly onerous for those who are disabled in some way or another. There are benefits to the managed care options, including an investment in infrastructure such as ramps. However, some of the Medicaid users feel that there will also be an additional administrative burden and the possibility of being rejected for full benefits. The changes are based on a public-private partnership model that has been used in other areas of public spending. In this case, not-for-profit organizations such as the Community Care Alliance are given access to some funds and income generating opportunities so that they can provide services that better reflect the needs of the service users.

Practical and Administrative Changes

andreas-weiland-252613-copy-1-300x200It is not only Chicago that is grappling with the issue of self-defense in the law. The public interpretations of the law vary considerably, and some of them are not strictly accurate. This is one of those issues that has the power to raise other polarizing matters such as racial disparities when encountering the criminal justice system. On the other hand, there is a legitimate interest in ensuring that criminals cannot terrorize the wider population on account of the fact that they are the ones with the guns. If they are genuinely frightened for their lives, most reasonable people would agree that property owners have a right to defend themselves. This self-defense argument can go right up to the case of justified killings.

Of course, we cannot always predict what is in someone’s mind. For example, a racist person may shoot any black person they see on their doorstep without any genuine fear. That is when the courts are left in a dilemma. The person may say that they were frightened, but that may mask their true intention. It also does not help that the moment such cases come to the media attention, America is once again divided along class and racial lines. All of a sudden, you have very successful Go-Fund-Me campaigns for the suspect, which makes a mockery of the system and gives the impression that America is an incurably racist society.

Private Property and Private Rights