Picture of attorney David L. Freidberg,

joe-perales-117891-copy-300x198Our judicial system is no doubt one of the best, but the truth is that it is not always perfect. This is why the state has set up an appeal system at both state and federal court levels. Usually, mistakes during the criminal defense process are the cause of all the wrongful convictions in Chicago. Under the Illinois law, defendants are allowed to file direct or post-conviction appeals.

Direct appeals apply when a defendant requests an appeal at the end of the trial. The law allows the defendant 30 days to file a direct petition for a criminal case in Illinois. A defendant can also file a post-conviction appeal, which allows the petitioner to seek other legal solutions. These include requesting a new trial, a pardon, or correct sentencing errors. When requesting post-conviction relief, a petitioner is required to convince the court that there was a violation of his or her state or federal constitutional rights during the initial trial.

How to Appeal Court Errors in Chicago

nitish-meena-198784-copy-300x200The Deferred Action for Children Arrivals, or DACA, refers to a program that was introduced in 2012 by the Obama administration. The program provides undocumented immigrants who meet specific conditions a chance to seek temporary protection against deportation. This applies even to individuals with a deferred case, as they are eligible to request employment authorization.

Under DACA, an individual has to show that he or she is an economic necessity for employment. The employment authorization applies for the period of deferred action.

In 2014, the government announced DACA to cover individuals above 31 years and included deferred action for American parents. These programs have since been suspended in Chicago and across the U.S. by the Trump administration. However, the programs may still apply to individuals who meet some set eligibility guidelines, as they are not affected by the court order.

quentin-kemmel-445082-copy-300x200A gun owner’s card (FOID) may be confiscated or seized if one is convicted of a felony or becomes a subject of an order of protection. This is why it is crucial to consult an experienced lawyer if you believe you have a legal case. Following a seizure, you will not only need a reliable defense lawyer on your side, but you will also need someone who understands how to protect your gun possession rights.

Police seize firearms from people who fail to follow the law. However, they sometimes face opposition from firearm owners. Currently, gun control advocates are trying to remove firearms from dangerous offenders while avoiding any activity that might offend the rights of a gun owner. This can obviously cause complications between gun control advocates and those who believe in the right to bear arms. Since 1968, it has been a requirement in Illinois to apply a FOID card to own a firearm. Only law enforcement and military members own firearms without FOID cards.

Generally, a FOID card denial occurs if you get convicted of domestic violence, charged with a felony, for those addicted to narcotics, previous patients in a mental health facility in the past five years, mental or intellectually disabled people, or if one is a subject of court restraint order. FOID cards can also be withdrawn if the owner seems to be able to cause harm to others or to him or herself.

drew-hays-206414-copy-200x300Although DNA has become an important part of criminal prosecutions, there are many who really question whether it is a perfect source of evidence. Recently, the Daniel Holtzclaw case highlighted some of the problems that are associated with DNA evidence. In that case, an ex-cop was convicted of rape. The defense attorneys argued that the analysis of the DNA in the case was faulty.

It is imperative for DNA evidence to be handled, stored, transmitted, and analyzed correctly in order to avoid a mistrial. Sometimes, convictions are overturned based on faulty evidence of this kind due to bad science. The services of a police lab analyst are required in order to ensure that the results of the tests can be independently verified. If the case involves a law enforcement officer, an independent expert witness may be called to support the defense team.

Some of the Problems of DNA evidence

tertia-van-rensburg-37121-copy-300x224Juries in Illinois and other states have been asked to measure the reliability of latent fingerprint evidence for decades. Latent fingerprints are collected samples of hidden fingerprints in a crime scene. Examiners use them to relate with those that are known to come from recognized sources. Forensic science is crucial in examining crime and assisting in the verdict for innocence or guilt at court hearings.

Questions concerning the sufficiency of several forensic subjects are arising daily. In 2009, a report was issued by the National Research Council that claimed that most latent fingerprint analyses were scientifically unjustified. It also said that some forensic disciplines had no credibility at all.

However, many reports still regard it as scientific injustice. In 2016, a group working on latent fingerprint analysis concluded that the forensics were not justified. The groups say that such assertions have brought false convictions and arrests. The American Association for the Advancement of Science made conclusions in a report. They said latent fingerprint examiners should stop claiming concealed fingerprints come from one source. Furthermore, they should particularly stop saying they could prove as much without errors.

hajran-pambudi-403848-copy-300x199The Charlottesville incident in August of 2017 is one instance of hate crime that brought about great destruction. It caused the death of a paralegal and two of the state troopers and the injury of several others. Racist undertones formed the root cause of the Charlottesville violence, and it is not an isolated incident.

The incidence of hate crime seems to be on the rise in the past few years, especially in the wake of the 2016 election results. Based on Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) statistics, the rate of hate crimes rose to an all-time high in 2016. Racial discrimination is a common reason behind the crimes, and this includes crimes against Jewish and Muslim people. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), there has been an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the country, including vandalism, harassment, and assaults.

Laws to Help Hate Crime Victims

boris-debusscher-485536-copy-207x300U.S. courts are facing many criminal cases that are somehow associated with robbery or theft. When these two almost identical crimes are coupled with an uninformed population, the result is a high number of convicted felons who do not know their rights based on their crimes.

While these two forms of crime may sound the same, they are different in nature. Many law enforcement units across the country report drastic reductions in cases linked to robberies and thefts, but the numbers are still high. A recent report by the Chicago Police Department shows a slight decrease in theft-related crimes over the past decade when compared to robbery incidences. This raises the question as to what is the difference between these two types of crime?

What You Should Know About Robbery Laws in Chicago

jomar-thomas-271602-copy-300x200All lawyers in Chicago are required to know the difference between state and federal law so that they can represent their clients accordingly. Each part of the court system has specific cases and offenses that it deals with. The punishments may even change depending on whether a person is charged with a state or federal crime.

The differences started right from the time that the two courts were established. Each state that makes up the USA is allowed to establish its own local and state courts. This would allow justice to be implemented by local people for local people. The role of local courts extends to counties, cities, and municipalities. By contrast, the federal court is established via the US Constitution. Many times, there is some level of coordination between the two systems in order to ensure that justice is served.

Different Roles and Responsibilities for the Courts

kristina-flour-185592-copy-300x192Libel and slander are in the news these days after the publication of a book about President Donald Trump’s White House. Slander and libel are important laws in Chicago. Writing or saying things about someone that are not true and that cause them to suffer any damage can lead to a significant fine. You will need competent lawyers to represent you in court in you are charged with these crimes.

Recently, there has been concern that some people are abusing the libel laws in order to avoid being scrutinized for their actions. An example is when college students who had suffered sexual assault felt that they could not report or talk about the cases just because the alleged perpetrators could sue for libel and slander. The leading case on these issues is Troman v. Wood.

How Does the Law Operate?

sebastian-pichler-25154-copy-300x200When the need for a criminal lawyer arises, time is of the essence. Before you go ahead and hire just any criminal defense attorney, there are specific and important questions that one should ask. Here are some things to consider when consulting with an attorney.  

Discovery, Evidence, and Investigation

It is the responsibility of your lawyer to obtain and review all the items in discovery. That includes reports from the police, statements of the witnesses, audio and video tapes, photographs, and any other material that might have been provided by the prosecutor through discovery. Your attorney should also make copies of all material. The attorney should not only consider having you aware of the evidence that is there but also any other evidence that is probably missing. Who are the witnesses that should be interviewed, and what are they likely to say in court? What type of defense investigation is likely to be conducted in order to find the evidence that can disprove your guilt?