Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal attorney

esteban-lopez-234052-copy-300x200Like every other state, Illinois is debating whether or not to make recreational marijuana legal, even after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made it a priority for federal prosecutors to enforce drug laws. According to Sessions, marijuana is causing serious health issues to citizens and anyone found in possession of it should be convicted.

However, Illinois leaders do not agree with Sessions. State Representative Kelly M. Cassidy and state Senator Heather Stean have plans to come up with revised statute in the legislature’s new session to permit recreational marijuana. They have been carrying out town halls and meeting with constituents and key stakeholders to come up with a bill.

The first approach of making recreational marijuana legal in Illinois might take place in March 2018 in Cook County. In the same month, an advisory referendum will ask voters whether adult use of cannabis should be lawful. It will be placed in the primary ballot. It is crucial to note that there is still a lengthy process. The vote is part of the strategy by state-wide legalization, hence not binding or affecting the current law.

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?

dan-gold-240112-copy-169x300We have all seen the commercials on TV asking people for donations to help abused animals. These include pit bulls being chained in cages to be used for fights. There are Rottweilers being starved with no fat on them, only skin and bones. The animals that need help the most are the ones that are being taken advantage of.

Recently in Illinois, a man put a chain around his pet dog and dragged the injured soul with his car. All of this was because the dog had eaten his sofa. When he saw the dog was extremely bruised up, but not dead, he ran him over multiple times until the dog died. Then, Philip Rinn shamefully threw the poor dog’s body into a ditch. What are the animal abuse laws in Chicago? What punishment is given to those who break these laws?

The Laws in Chicago Regarding Cruelty Towards Animals

Gallaecia_petrea_02-57c-200x300Many people can not afford to post bail when they are arrested. This has caused a lot of Illinois prisons to be overcrowded. Legislators in Chicago has taken several measures to try to lower the cost of bail.

This summer, the Governor Rauner signed legislation allowing bail relief to non-violent offenders at a local Chicago Baptist Institute. This will create the opportunity for those who are detained for low-level crimes to pay a lower fee to be released. The Governor believes that this is “an important step in improving our state’s criminal justice system. Our system must work equally for all our residents, in every community, regardless of their income,” Rauner said. “We should be focused on putting people in jobs, not jail.”

Knowing When and How to Post Bail

esther-tuttle-280714-copy-300x200There are instances in which the crime of being in possession of a stolen motor vehicle is a carrier or access crime. You need a team of competent lawyers in order to avoid upgrading the charges unnecessarily. The car being the instrument for committing the crime or getting away from the crime, it is often a minor charge when compared with the principal charge of robbery or even homicide. The case of Jamie Thurnau and Jorge Chavez demonstrates the wide range of possible charges after the arrest. The actual charge sheet included the possession of a stolen car and also resisting arrest. Further charges of burglary, aggravated battery, and fleeing police were later added.

The fact that the offenders injured a law enforcement agent during the commission of the crime is an aggravating feature that will be considered by the court during the sentencing phase. A prior warrant of arrest was being executed when the pair drove off from a Walmart parking lot. The accumulation of charges brings into question the Mens Rea element of the criminal conduct. The acts of fleeing and even injuring the police may have occurred as described by the prosecutor, but it is an entirely different matter to prove that these acts were foreplanned with malice in mind. This is often the crux of the defense strategy. They may acknowledge the factual basis of the case but then dispute the motivations in order to throw doubt on the case.

Ranking Different Crimes that Occur at the Same Moment

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

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225The right to bail is constitutionally protected in Chicago and across the USA and is relevant in the wake of increased custodial sentencing. It is a key piece of procedural content for the court process. Many ordinary members of the public do not understand how bail works. That means that they are at risk of spending significant time in jail on remand rather than being out on bail. The court is faced with three main considerations when deciding whether or not to give bail:

  • The risk of absconding
  • The risk of committing other crimes whilst on bail

w33-zg-dnl4-rami-al-zayat-300x200Revenge porn is a crime that is gaining prominence in the age of social media. The law in Chicago took some time to catch up with the reality that some victims were being exposed to serious danger. By 2015, the state legislature had decided to write a law that set out the parameters for an effective prosecution. The leading instrument is 720 ILCS 5/11-46. At the moment revenge porn is considered to be a felony offense. In actuality, Chicago is in the minority when it comes to jurisdictions that have finally started criminalizing this type of behavior. Illinois is noted as the state with the strictest laws in this category. The crux of the offense is sharing nude or compromising images and videos of a person without his or her consent. One must have the unequivocal consent of a person in intimate images before those images can be shared.

It is entirely possible that images which are not extremely explicit can be considered to be part of a revenge porn offense. The charge can stick even if the person had originally consented to the recording of the image but was then unaware that the image was going to be distributed. Defense lawyers have argued that the definition is too wide and gives the court way too much discretion in determining what constitutes revenge porn. Chicago has different from other states in important ways as follows:

  • The intention to cause harm is not necessary for the charge to stick. All that is required is that the images or videos were distributed. Malicious intent can be an aggravating factor but its absence does not remove the charge.

800px-WashingtonWells_CTA_071230Even as the USA becomes more and more liberal when it comes to human sexuality, there are certain boundaries that are not to be crossed, such as outraging public decency as defined in the Chicago law. Indecent exposure is the nightmare waiting to happen for many commuters and park patrons. Although members of the public are generally aware that indecent exposure is socially unacceptable, they rarely comprehend the seriousness of the crime until they are experiencing it firsthand. In certain situations, this crime can become a felony with all the attendant consequences. There may be a few rare cases in which the police allow the offender to get away with a slap on the wrist, but those are not the norm. Not only do the sentencing guidelines include fines, they also make reference to long jail time.

Understanding Public Indecency Charges

The basic rules for public indecency charges are set out in 720 ILCS 5/11-30. There are a few things to note from the perspective of the defending attorney. First of all, the minimum age for criminal culpability in this context is 17 years, so age verification will be a key aspect of the defense strategy when appropriate. The conduct that falls under this law is varied, but there are a few important qualifiers and indicators of what is generally considered to be indecent exposure or public indecency in a prosecutorial context:

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Disorderly conduct has become the catch-all and go-to remedy for law enforcement agencies. The typical scenario is that of a police officer working on a hunch or anecdotal evidence that someone might be engaged in criminal activity. In the absence of a clear provable offense, the officer makes what is effectively a preventative arrest under the disorderly conduct law in Chicago. However, that scenario raises civil liberties issues, particularly as they relate to minorities who have historically faced much more stringent scrutiny within the criminal justice system. Frisking is a popular political tool for those who want to be tough on crime but not touch on the causes of crime. Some members of the public are just reassured by any statistical evidence that arrests are increasing even though those arrests may not necessarily mean a reduction in criminality within a given area or population.

Processing Issues and Cost-Benefit Calculations

At a time when the police are anxious to engage with communities in innovative law enforcement projects, it seems that stop and search and disorderly conduct are soon going to become anachronisms. Worse still, the abuse of those provisions in Chicago will open up the law enforcement agencies to series suits for civil rights violations. The definition of disorderly conduct is also not set in stone. That means that police discretion is playing an important role in determining whether a prosecution will take place or not. If the police are given the option to turn a blind eye to potential infringements based on their judgements, then we must also accept that an element of personal prejudice may come into play with time.