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Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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?

elliott-stallion-105205-copy-300x200Many people in Chicago, Illinois want to know if they can vote in the state if they are already imprisoned or held for a felony conviction. This query is generally made during election time. A lot of people are not cognizant of the laws when it comes to voting from jail.

In the United States, the voting rules for incarcerated individuals differ from one state to the other, which adds to the confusion. This is why it is imperative that people educate themselves about the rules. There are specific rules regarding voting after a felony conviction in Illinois.

What is the Law in Illinois?

tim-graf-202490-copy-300x200The 7th circuit appeal court has just considered the case of Joseph Doornbos. This case highlights some of the important things for residents of Chicago to consider when they are stopped and searched. It specifically looks at pat-downs and whether the police have to have reasonable grounds for suspicion before they act.

In this case, the search was done by law enforcement agents that were not in uniform (plain clothes agents). They confronted the suspect and tackled him to the ground as he was leaving a train station. Later on, they charged him with resisting an arrest, but he was acquitted on that charge.

The Issues of the Case

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225There has been a preliminary hearing to consider whether the civil rights of a prisoner who has been in solitary confinement for eight years were violated. This was not a final ruling but rather permission to proceed with the case. That means that there was either probable cause or serious constitutional issues that had to be dealt with by the court on the case.

The full court reversed a summary judgement that had earlier been passed against a federal inmate. The prisoner had brought a petition about his constitutional due process and rights. Aaron Isby had been convicted of robbery as well as serious bodily harm in 1989. He was imprisoned at the Pendleton Correctional Facility.

When an inmate, Isby had had an altercation with a counselor. He was gassed and apprehended by a cell-extraction team. A dog died during the incident. The inmate actually stabbed two officers. This led to a charge and conviction of attempted murder as well as battery. Another 40 years were added to his sentence.

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.

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