Articles Posted in Sentencing

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225Having a loved one incarcerated can cause a lot of strain on your relationship, whether you are married, dating, or even if you are divorced. Knowing how to deal with such a circumstance in Chicago can mean the difference between a stressful life and one that is a little bit easier to handle. Today, we will discuss how you can handle dealing with an incarcerated loved one so you can make the proper adjustments for yourself and your family.

Avoid Treating it as a Loss

One of the worst things you can do for yourself and for your loved one in jail is treat this as a loss. You did not lose your loved one. He or she is still alive. You can still talk on the phone, write letters, and physically visit him or her in prison. You cannot mourn this situation like you would the death of a loved one. There is one thing you must know: Others might not offer much support when a loved one is in jail like they would if your loved one had died.

ben-white-194220-copy-300x200Being charged with a crime brings a lot of stress and worry with it. You never know what will come of your case, especially if it goes to trial. Should the case go to trial and you are convicted of the crime, you will then need to attend a sentencing hearing in front of the judge. This is an important hearing because you are learning your fate. You will find out how long you will be sentenced to jail, if any fines will be levied, and if you can avoid any jail time. Here is what you can expect at a sentencing hearing.

The Length of the Hearing

For the most part, the sentencing hearing will not take very long. This is a process that should only last a handful of minutes. All the judge needs to do is read through the pre-sentence report that was created by the probation office. The judge will then listen to arguments made by the criminal defense attorney, the prosecutor, and sometimes the defendant and/or family members of the victim.

sebastian-pichler-25154-copy-300x200At an arraignment, the crimes that you are charged with will be formally read aloud in court. In the Illinois Justice System, you will have this hearing no matter what degree of crime you were charged with (misdemeanor or felony). Here is what you should expect to happen at most standard arraignments.

The Basics

Arraignments should be held within a reasonable time frame, as dictated by the sixth amendment. If an arraignment is set for six months or more after the time of your arrest, your attorney may petition for dismissal.

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225In the news in Chicago recently, you may have seen a promising development about imprisoned citizens getting justice and their freedom after spending many years of their lives behind bars. These individuals received life sentences at an extremely young age. In fact, some were barely 14 years old when they were sentenced to life for crimes committed. As a result, they have spent more years of their life in a prison than in free society.

Yet, with the help of a United States Supreme Court ruling, you have the right to appeal for a reduced sentence for the sentencing you received. Discover below how you can begin the process to have your life prison sentence overturned.

How Appealing a Life Sentence Works

a-l-117960-copy-300x198Law enforcement officers are cracking down heavily on carjacking cases in Chicago. The stiff sentence given to the accused in a violent November carjacking is a prime example. Another similar case of carjacking involved the car of a retired cop in Chicago. There have been several such cases in the past year alone.

Carjacking is increasingly becoming a menace in Chicago. The federal authorities are showing a keen interest in punishing the offenders. This further increases the conviction chances for the offenders.

Carjacking Crimes in Chicago

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225Recently, it has been announced that there is a bill that will allow convicts in Illinois to be released at the 85% point of their sentence. The IDOC Releases 2017 has been long discussed by Congress and in legal circles. Some people will have less time in prison as a result of this change. Others might find that there are much stricter rules for getting released. The change follows a recommendation by the Commission on Criminal Sentencing. The new program is meant to reduce offending over the long term.

Just like any other laws, the people who are already in prison might be affected. Those who are going to commit crimes in the future will definitely be affected. These changes work together with all the other reforms that the government has been putting in place. An example is the gun law reviews, which affected those that are repeat offenders for gun crimes.

Things to Watch Out for if You are Convicted

jack-young-143113-300x200Even when a crime has been committed and a person has been convicted, there are opportunities for that person to get a discharge or reprieve depending on the circumstances. There are cases in which there is a public interest in overturning the verdict, conviction, and sentence as if they never happened at all. This is a separate procedure from a reprieve. It means that the criminal record is essentially expunged and the person continues on as if he or she never committed the crime or went through the court process. This person may even be entitled to compensation for wrongful convictions.

The process we are talking about is when a crime has been proven and the defendant has been sentenced, but he or she then gets a reprieve. This can be at the discretion of the governor of Chicago or even the President of the United States. A board may be convened to consider the institution of pardons and reprieves. A case in point is when President Obama authorized reprieves for a number of convicts who had been given long sentences for relatively minor drug-related offenses on the basis of the three strikes rule.

Implications of the Reprieve of Discharge

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

3scbuulajgg-matthew-hamilton-300x200Knowledge of sentencing guidelines is not only important for those defendants who have been found guilty of a crime in Chicago, but it is also important for those who intend to enter a guilty plea or have a reasonable expectation of being found guilty. The guidelines act like a framework within which the court is expected to operate. They offer guidance to the judge as to the minimum and maximum sentences anticipated depending on the facts of the case. The range can be quite significant, and many offenses lie in the middle. It is for this reason that a sliding scale of punishment has been adopted.

Understanding the Difference Between Potential and Actual Punishments

Unlike some jurisdictions where sentencing is a technical and artificial exercise of matching index points to a punishment scale, Chicago, like the rest of the USA, demands a much more sophisticated approach. This includes weighing up the relative aspects of the aggravating and mitigating features. Two people who have been involved in an identical crime might get significantly different sentences under the guidelines. The public may perceive this to be unfair, but in reality, it is a reflection of the true nature of crime in which the differences are often more important than the similarities.

o_498v1-nbc-rachel-paprocki-300x201The felony charge sits just below terrorism and treason when ranking the criminal offenses that are known in the Chicago statues. It is a step up from the misdemeanor and carries a lot of serious consequences for the defendant including the loss of their liberty and a debilitating criminal record. As a rule of thumb, an offense becomes a felony if it is capable of attracting a punishment that exceeds one year in jail. Some jurisdictions have gone as far as setting mandatory sentencing for certain felonies in order to control the court process in such a way as not to dent public confidence in the system. Others have classified obsolete felonies as being non-prosecutable.

There is considerable public debate as to whether the classification of felonies is appropriate for this century. For a start, the idea of a permanent criminal record might sound good in terms of retribution and public safety. However, the reality is that people who are unable to find work will inevitably turn back to crime, which means that the vicious circle will never end. Nevertheless, the trial judge tends to take into consideration a number of factors at the sentence hearing including:

  • Previous known criminality,