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Chicago area teens are facing misdemeanor charges following the theft of a car and a crash that left a 6-month-old baby dead. Now, with the news floating about the cultural ether, it is part of the feedback loop of fear and vigilance that has Americans panic-shooting one another just because someone wants to do a U-turn in their driveway. 

While some may believe that the problem is journalism, it actually goes much deeper than that. Reporters are only responding to market signals, and if you do not sell fear, then you run the risk of losing attention. So, you get an endless barrage of fear-journalism that (by design) makes your world unsafe.

What Happened?

Facebook is being sued in almost every country over concerns that its algorithm harnesses the worst emotions that humanity has to offer and then rewards them for it. This is resulting in reports of genocide in Myanmar, deaths of teenagers, families destroyed by fake news, and a general feeling of hatred toward our fellow Americans. It may not be so much that Americans like this information or like feeling this way, as it is a matter of belief that this information makes them part of a special elect few who have their finger on the pulse of the American heartbeat.

How Does Your Local News Cycle Work?

Essentially, everything you need to know about your news cycle can be gleaned from the movie Nightcrawler. In the movie, an unlikeable protagonist fulfills his dream of becoming a vulture by getting a live feed of newsworthy events. By the end of the movie, he is creating events to film and getting rich off of these created events. While this is unlikely to happen in real life, the fictional space that the movie creates allows us to see how that would work.

While many people believe that “drug trafficking” and “drug dealing” are interchangeable, the law casts a broader net. And the fact that state drug trafficking policy varies considerably, both states have rules that make drug trafficking illegal.

If you manufacture, transport, market, or administer illicit drugs, you will be charged with drug trafficking.

When you are caught with a certain amount of some illicit drug, you will be charged with drug trafficking. It is valid even though you did not manufacture, purchase, distribute, or transport the drugs. If you have drugs in your hands and the volume reaches the legally defined distribution amount, you could be charged with drug trafficking.

Even though most people use the terms “assault” and “battery” interchangeably, the reality is that assault and battery are two different criminal offenses. In Illinois, for a person to be found guilty of assault, there does not need to be proof of physical contact of a provoking or harmful nature. On the other hand, there needs to be proof of physical contact of a harmful or provoking nature for someone to be convicted of battery. In Illinois, a person can be convicted of assault based on just words. Below is more about the crime of assault in Illinois.

The Criminal Offense of Assault in Illinois

According to 720 ILCS 5/12-1, an individual commits the offense of assault when, without legal authority, they knowingly engage in conduct that puts another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. According to Illinois law, an individual does not have to cause actual harm to the victim for them to be charged with assault. 

Just seeing a drug-sniffing dog can be nerve-wracking, and having one sniff your body, compound, car, or belongings can feel like an infringement on your privacy. These dogs are a common sight in airports and functions such as festivals where large crowds of people gather to have fun.

Apart from airports and music festivals, you might have seen these dogs at a traffic stop and wondered if it was legal for the police to have them there. 

The Case of Illinois V. Caballes

You have seen it on TV a thousand times. A police officer makes an arrest, then tells the perp, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” 

In the Miranda v. Arizona case, the Supreme Court established that law enforcement officers must warn criminal suspects about two crucial rights under the United States Constitution: the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination (“No person shall be…compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,”) and the Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel (“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”) Only once this warning has been given may the suspect knowingly waive the right against self-incrimination and make a statement to police officers. 

The Risk of Waiving Your Right Against Self-Incrimination

Being charged with the offense of assault in Illinois is a serious thing, especially because of how easy it is to be convicted of the crime. Thus, it is crucial that you take an assault charge seriously because the crime of assault carries serious potential penalties. If you are being charged with assault in Illinois, you need to retain a skilled criminal defense attorney. It is crucial that you hire an attorney who can work with you to develop a defense strategy that can help you fight your charges.

The defenses available in assault cases can vary widely depending on the specifics of a case. But the following are some of the most common defenses to assault charges in Illinois.


You have been charged with a crime, and you have been summoned to court. Whether it is a traffic violation, a misdemeanor that resulted from a bar fight, or even a low-level drug possession issue, attorney representation can be a significant expense. Now, you are attempting to decide whether you can manage your defense on your own without hiring a lawyer.

Those that represent themselves in legal proceedings on their own behalf are referred to and appear as “pro se” litigants. While most persons do not have real-time courtroom experience—especially as a defendant—many feel that they have gained valuable knowledge from movies and TV shows and therefore understand courtroom mechanics. Possibly the most famous pro se litigant was Robert Kearns, the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper who prevailed in court against the giant Chrysler corporation. If someone like the non-legally trained engineer Kearns could be successful in a big-time courtroom setting, why not skip the lawyer expense and handle your case yourself?

Pro Se Representation Advantages

The “Cop City” protest group in Atlanta involved recruitment and awareness efforts in Chicago via a Twitter account and group meetups. In this case, the activists were opposed to the destruction of a public park and an 85-acre urban forest in Atlanta that was earmarked for use as a police training center. The area was thenceforth known as “Cop City.”

The activism efforts spooked the FBI even though there was no evidence that the group did anything more than raise awareness about the destruction of an urban forest and hold meetings to discuss social and environmental issues. Nonetheless, the FBI snooped on the activists and dedicated federal funds to the effort of stopping “anarchist extremism.” 

Documents, which failed to indicate anyone in the group did anything illegal, characterize the individuals as “violent anarchist extremists” and “violent environmental extremists,” but there is no evidence to buttress those allegations.

A Chicago man charged with shooting and killing a Chicago police officer is being held without bond. The man is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, among other things. He did not have a criminal history, according to police, but his reputation for gangsterism preceded him. The young man was suspected of running from a stolen car after a shooting. In that case, police had sought felony charges, but prosecutors only approved misdemeanor charges based on his age and arrest record. In the shooter’s case, the charges were eventually dropped after he completed 20 hours of community service. His age and lack of criminal record were cited as reasons to be lenient.

Now, the prosecutor’s office is in big trouble after the boy shot and killed a police officer. Today, law enforcement is caught between two pressures. The first is ensuring that young individuals have a chance to rehabilitate themselves. The second is ensuring the safety of the public and police officers. Every time something like this happens, the pendulum swings back toward less leniency. 

Analyzing the Enforcement Issues

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