Articles Posted in Arrests

sve4luszh70-ant-rozetsky-300x200Just like in many jurisdictions, Illinois takes vehicular hijacking to be a particularly serious crime as listed in the provisions of the legislative instrument number 720 ILCS 5/18-4. Upon conviction, the defendant can expect a term of imprisonment that ranges anywhere from four to 15 years. There are specific aggravating and mitigating features that the defense attorney should pay careful attention to.

If the judge believes that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating features, they can raise the sentencing range to six to 30 years. In exceptional cases, a whole life term may be imposed. Therefore, it is clear that this is the type of offense in which the court has wide discretion. It also means that the defendant will require first-class legal representation in order to bring the categorization down to the lowest end of the seriousness scale.

Procedural and Substantive Considerations in the Legal Framework

https://www.chicagocriminallawyerblog.com/files/2017/01/U.S._Court_House_Chicago_Ill_72168-300x194.jpgUpon arrest, a defendant is normally taken through a preliminary hearing according to the provisions of statutory instrument number 725 ILCS 5/110-5. This is a critical step for the defense lawyers because that is when a finding of probable cause is considered. It can be undertaken by either a judge in chambers or the grand jury. The litmus test is the preponderance of evidence. This evidence is adduced through testimony and some limited cross examination by the prosecutor. Defending attorneys sometimes complain that this stage of proceedings is so obviously dominated by the prosecutor that they can literally set the agenda from the word go.

The finding of a probable cause then leads to the arraignment and assignment. The rules and practice in Chicago is to take no more than two weeks after the preliminary hearing or grand jury indictment. The presiding judge first assigns the defendant his trial judge. This is the senior judicial officer that will hear the case right through the determination of innocence/guilt, including the consequent punishment phase. The reason for using one judge are rooted in the need to ensure consistency and fairness. In any case, it is expected that the trial judge will have an intimate knowledge of the case which might become critical when handling matters of appeal.

Advice from Seasoned Attorneys

800px-Handcuffs01_2008-07-27-300x200Nobody really likes to get arrested unless they are running away from an even greater threat to their lives. Therefore, the crime of resisting arrest in Chicago is not as uncommon as one might first assume. Currently this is considered to be a misdemeanor which is a follow-on offense that is separate from the original reason why the person is being arrested in the first place (see People vs Wishard). The law requires complete compliance with the law enforcement agencies unless there are some other compelling reasons such as a health emergency. Some over-zealous officers use this law in order to intimidate and then implicate citizens for purposes of blurring some other type of evidence. Quite often when an officer is caught up in dubious shooting episodes, he or she invariably come up with a defense to the effect that the shooting was justified because the suspect was resisting arrest.

Legal Implications and Strictures

Needless to say, an attorney is important in such cases, not only because he or she is able to challenge the version of events that is presented by the government agency, but also because an attorney can help the panicked suspect not implicate him or herself further. You would be amazed at how many criminal cases are effectively surrendered by the defendant on the first night in a cell precisely because he or she volunteers information through disorganized semi-confessions. One of the problems with the law relating to resisting arrest is the fact that it is so vaguely worded that it can encompass a wide range of behavior that would in some instances be reasonable and in others less reasonable. Similarly, the sentencing guidelines for the misdemeanor are extensive and varied. They include fines, probation, community service, and custody. The criminal record can provide some challenges in the future with respect to employment prospects.  

Chicago_police_car_horizThe mantra to let the law take its course seems like a platitude when faced with a serious criminal investigation. Each party will have their own interests and will fight to protect them. For example the prosecutor will want the defendant to come across as the worst thing that has happened to the world. On the other hand, the defending attorney will want to portray his or her client as a hapless victim or a well-meaning interventionist. The public may want their pound of flesh from the trial, including the entertainment value. However, in the cool environment of a courtroom, it is the law that takes precedence. In this article we consider the offense of obstructing justice in Chicago as described in 720 ILCS 5/31-4.

Getting in the Way of the Investigation is a Crime in Chicago

The law on obstruction of justice in Chicago is borne out of a concern that defendants and their accomplices will try to make it difficult to undertake prosecutions. They can do this in a number of ways which involve omission and commission. In the worst case scenarios, there is witness intimidation which is an altogether different and sometimes even more serious offense in Chicago. Obstruction is a felony even if it encompasses quite a wide variety of behavior. This may include false testimony, concealment of essential information, and destroying or disguising physical evidence. Typically, there are two avenues opening for charging someone for these offenses. The first one is known as information while the second is known as indictment.

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The Chicago Tribune reports that a Chicago man is currently being held at the Skokie courthouse jail with bail set at $250,000 for allegedly Tasering a 79-year old woman during an attempted robbery. The man is charged with aggravated battery and attempted robbery after supposedly attacking the elderly woman while she was sitting in her car. The man’s public defender has released a statement indicating that the defendant does not have enough money to post bail. Therefore, he will remain in jail at least until his preliminary hearing which is currently scheduled for September 8th. But why did the court decide to set this man’s bail at $250,000? What factors does a court take into consideration when setting bail? This article provides a brief overview of what bail is and how it is set in Illinois.

What is Bail?

Simply put, bail is the amount of money that a court requires in exchange for releasing an accused criminal defendant from custody while he or she awaits a day in court. Money paid as bail is refundable and is returned to the defendant after he or she appears for the court date and satisfies any other conditions of bail. However, if the defendant skips town or does not appear in court for some reason then that bail is forfeited. The idea is that defendants who have posted a seizable bail will be strongly incentivized to show up at court for their trials.

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Back in 2013, a woman was found dead in her Southwest Side Brighton Park apartment with her throat slashed. The deceased woman’s husband disappeared before her body was found and the police put out a warrant for his arrest. Authorities suspected that the husband fled to Mexico after killing his wife, and so the Chicago FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force coordinated an international manhunt to look for him. It took a few years, but the wanted man was arrested in Mexico earlier this year and was extradited back to the United States just last week, reports Fox 32. According to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, the man was charged with one count of first-degree murder and is currently being held without bail.

What is Extradition?

Extradition is the transfer of a wanted person from the country in which the individual is hiding to the country that wants to put them on trial. Extradition can also occur between states within the United States. Whether or not a country agrees to turn over a wanted person often depends on whether or not the countries involved have signed an extradition treaty with each other and what the provisions of that treaty are. The United States has extradition treaties with many countries around the world, including Mexico.

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This summer, police officers across the United States have been cracking down on prostitution-related offenses. Sting operations aimed at stopping the solicitation of prostitution have been executed across the country, including several in Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reports that a recent sting operation in Arlington Heights resulted in 14 men being charged with the crime of soliciting a sexual act. The Arlington Heights police carried out the sting by placing ads on the internet designating a specific time and hotel for interested people to meet. When individuals arrived at the designated hotel room a female undercover agent greeted them. Additional officers were waiting to arrest offenders who offered money to the undercover agent for sexual acts and to charge them with misdemeanor solicitation of a sexual act.

What Constitutes Entrapment?

Typically, entrapment occurs when a police officer induces someone to commit a crime that he or she would otherwise not have been disposed to commit. Entrapment can be used as a defense to a criminal charge, and is often alleged by defendants who have been charged with solicitation of a sexual act. In Illinois, the legal test for entrapment is contained in 720 ILCS 5/7-12 and prohibits a criminal defendant from being convicted if their illegal conduct was either incited or induced by a public agent in order to obtain evidence for the prosecution of that person. However, entrapment can not be used as a defense if the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime and the public agent simply provided them with the opportunity to commit it.

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The Chicago Police Department (CPD) has a list of Chicagoans who are believed to be at risk of either killing or being killed. The police started compiling their Strategic Subject List three years ago in an attempt to save the lives of everyone listed, reports the Chicago Tribune. One by one, individuals on the strategic subject list are visited during a proactive well-being check. These checks, known as “custom notifications,” do not involve arrests but instead conversations and warnings. Officers warn listed individuals that they have been identified as being at risk for killing or being killed and that there are alternatives for safer lifestyles available to them. Depending on the circumstances, officers sometimes bring community activists or religious leaders with them during these well-being checks.

What Factors are Used to Generate Chicago’s Strategic Subject List?

The police have not precisely explained the factors that are being used to identify at-risk individuals for their Strategic Subject List. However, the department did tell the Chicago Tribune that they are focusing on the 1,400 individuals who are considered to be most at risk and that a person’s criminal record, age at first arrest, and whether the person has been previously shot are all taken into account. Some civil rights organization leaders in Chicago are concerned that the CPD is not telling the public which factors are being used to create the Strategic Subject List and worry that this lack of transparency may be masking racial profiling. The Police Department says that they will not release the precise combination of factors that are being used as doing so would undermine the program’s effectiveness.

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Last month an African-American teenager was fatally shot by the Chicago police at the conclusion of a car chase. An article on WMUR.com reports that the police attempted to pull over the 18-year-old as the Jaguar convertible that he was driving had been reported stolen. The teen refused to pull over, led the police on a chase through the South Side of Chicago, hit a police cruiser and a parked car, and eventually two police officers opened fire on him. The teenager died from his injuries and his family has since filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging wrongful death and excessive force.

The news is highlighting this shooting as the latest event in a string of violent confrontations between African-American communities and police officers in Chicago. Unfortunately, there have been several police incidents lately during which members of the community claim police officers used excessive force. Chicago’s Police Department is attempting to foster trust between officers and community members by arming their police officers with body cameras. The idea is that the cameras will record police interactions with civilians in order to provide evidence in case any misconduct occurs. However, police body cameras can only serve their intended purpose if they are turned on and functioning properly, which is not always the case. During the police shooting described above, the body camera of the officer who fatally shot the teen failed to record during the shooting. The police department reports that they are currently in a body camera pilot program and that officers received their cameras approximately eight to 10 days before the shooting. At this time it is not clear why the officer’s body camera was not recording at the time of the shooting.

Body Camera Laws in Illinois

POLICE CAR- BLUE LIGHTS“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.  You have the right to an attorney.” The Miranda warning, or Miranda rights, are probably familiar to anyone who has watched police dramas or true crime shows on television, but the practical aspects of them are often misunderstood.

History

People in the United States have the rights under the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination and under the Sixth Amendment to an attorney when they are being accused of a crime by law enforcement. The Miranda warning developed out of a Supreme Court holding in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) which set out that in order for a statement made to law enforcement officers to be admissible in court the accused needs to be made explicitly aware of these two rights. The Miranda warning statement thus serves two purposes. First, it defends the accused by notifying them of their rights, and second it ensures that any statements that the accused makes to the police will be admissible in court.