COVID-19 Update: We Are Open 24/7 to Service Current and New Clients.

Articles Posted in Civil Rights

According to a recent opinion piece by the Daily Mail, “woke” bail reform is putting murderers back on the streets of Chicago. This is not strictly true. In 2020, when the jails and prisons were overcrowded with suspects awaiting charges, it became more routine to release individuals on ankle monitors. However, it is true that reforms in the way we do bail are impacting how it functions and who qualifies.

To be sure, Illinois is not woke when it comes to bail reform. Some states have moved to do away with the cash bail system, and we will get into their reasons why below. However, Illinois is not one of them so the idea that Chicago is putting murderers out on the streets at a greater rate than say, New York or Los Angeles is false. One of the reasons why Chicago takes it on the chin when it comes to these sorts of accusations is that we have a large Black population, a history of political corruption, and a reputation for organized crime. However, we are no more woke than, say, Birmingham, AL when it comes to our bail system. 

COVID releases, overcrowding, and ankle monitors

If any one story can encapsulate the zeitgeist of the state of policing in America, it is this one. John Catanzara, the president of the Chicago police union, is facing at least two disciplinary charges. One is related to a social media post in which he referred to Muslims as “savages” and said, “They all deserve a bullet.” The other is related to criminal charges that he filed a false police report against another police officer, then-Superintendent Eddie Johnson. 

Disciplinary charges follow an IA investigation into Catanzara who allegedly claimed that Superintendent Eddie Johnson allowed protesters onto the Dan Ryan Expressway. This will be the third time that the President of the police union has faced firing. Two prior superintendents have tried and failed to get Catanzara tossed from the force. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability recommended Catanzara’s firing after he made incendiary comments against Muslims. 

Is it Illegal to Make Incendiary Comments About Muslims?

A woman who was dragged by the hair out of her car during an arrest will not face misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct. The woman Mia Wright claims that officers dragged her out of her car by her hair near the Brickyard Mall and then knelt on her neck for a period of time. City officials refused to explain why they dropped the charges against the woman. 

An attorney for Mia Wright said that anyone who looked at the video would see that the police officers’ reaction was baseless and unnecessary. 

The Video

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has filed a complaint with the Illinois Labor Relations Board after several officers were allegedly unfairly suspended during investigations. Across the U.S., police departments have been taking complaints about officers more seriously since the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests that gripped the nation.

Sidelined officers include notable ones such as the officer who punched activist Miracle Boyd in the face after a confrontation in front of the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park. Others include police officers accused of dragging a woman out of her car by her hair and then kneeling on her neck, and another officer caught on film giving someone the finger. 

The FOP insists that none of those officers should have either been fired or suspended until the investigations were complete. They have filed an unfair labor practices complaint over the handling of police misconduct investigations. 

Those who are in prison awaiting trial for crimes for which they have been accused are considered innocent until proven guilty. Yet the law has a vested interest in holding some detainees until trial—especially if they are considered either flight risks or a danger to the community. 

Despite that, one Chicago criminal defense attorney was able to get over a dozen Chicago inmates released amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

Prisons and Jails are Responsible for Inmate Safety

maique-madeira-256088-copy-300x200Chicago PD will begin using Clearview, a controversial facial recognition software used by the FBI to identify suspects. The controversy surrounding the software is similar to the controversy surrounding law enforcement in general. In other words, it is racist. It also involves another well-established controversy: It is a violation of privacy.

You see, the FBI and law enforcement have access to a database of three billion photos lifted from sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media megaliths. 

How Does it Work?

kristina-flour-185592-copy-300x192Even though a police officer is required to read you your Miranda Rights, that does not mean that you have to speak to the officer arresting you. It is the officer’s job to read you your rights. You then have the right to remain silent. It is the very first right that is read to you when the officers Mirandize you. Today, we will take a look at why you should invoke your fifth amendment rights and remain silent when being arrested for a crime in Chicago.

How can I Invoke My Rights?

Ironically, the best way to invoke your right to remain silent is to speak up and say as much to the police officer arresting you. Some examples of what you could say to the officer include the following:

matthew-henry-35963-unsplash-copy-300x200A fair trial is one in which the jury or judge imparts judgement without any partiality towards anyone. The various rights linked with a fair trial are explained in Article 10 of the Declaration of Human Rights, in the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Any government’s key role is to maintain law and order in society. It is their duty to give fair punishments to a criminal while delivering justice. All of this comes with a great responsibility since convicting someone of an unlawful act is a serious step that will impact the rest of that person’s life.

Thus, the right to a fair trial ensures that people can feel protected and safe. They can know that the law is certain and fair for everyone in the nation. This also means that the government cannot abuse its power and thus can separate the guilty and the innocent.

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225Some people are arguing against what they perceive to be unnecessary censorship by the authorities when writing prison rules. The department of corrections in Chicago has very strict rules for what can be brought into its prisons. The reasons for this range from security to discipline. In any case, some prison authorities believe that being sent to prison should always be a form of punishment rather than allowing the convict to have any form of pleasure, however small it may be.

There are those who come from a human rights perspective who argue that prisoners do not lose their fundamental rights just because they are incarcerated. They argue that unless there is clear evidence of an illegal activity or a security risk, the prisoners should be able to access media materials. Of course that is a complicated system when dealing with offenders such as those facing weapons charges and sex offenders who may use the access to the media in order to continue committing crimes.

Lawsuits Against the Prison Service in Chicago

aaron-burden-149693-copy-300x225A cell phone is a mechanical device used for personal and business transactions. Because it is widely available, many people use cell phones to communicate. It is one’s property, kept and protected for privacy.

What happens if you are called in for questioning or accused of a crime? Are the police allowed to search your cell phone? If they are, then do they need a warrant to search your personal property?

What is a Warrant?

Contact Information