Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense attorney

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

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?

sawyer-bengtson-279792-copy-200x300Serious crimes like murder make the news headlines. However, crimes like assault and theft are far more common in Chicago, Illinois. In fact, your chances becoming a victim of these non-index crimes might be higher than the police and the security department are telling you.

Reports of “non-index” crime on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) are on the rise. They seem to surpass the rate of such reports for the last two years. Some of these non-index crimes are cases involving criminal sexual abuse. They include sexual harassment without any physical contact and inappropriate touching.

Since early 2015, there has been reported 145 cases of criminal sexual abuse on the CTA. Surprisingly, in 2015, only 44 cases of criminal sexual abuse were reported. This data was released by the Chicago Sun-Times after analysis of the Chicago Police Department’s data on non-index crimes. Note the non-index crimes are ones perceived as less than the index crimes such as rape, robbery, and murder.

kristina-flour-185592-copy-300x192In a case of double jeopardy, a Chicago cop pleaded the Fifth at trial involving friend’s shooting at his home.

A police officer recently refused to answer questions regarding a baffling shooting that took place near his house almost seven years ago. The officer, following advice from his counsel, pleaded the fifth in a federal court regarding his integrity and wrongful shooting attempts. Patrick Kelly, a veteran patrolman, declined to give answers to a number of questions on the mysterious shooting and his puzzling record before Judge Harry Lienenweber. The United States District Magistrate dismissed the police officer as a witness during the hearing of the domestic case. Anthony Monaco, the attorney defending Kelly, did not give any reasons as to why his client did not testify.

On the 12th of January, 2010, Kelly and his childhood friend, Michael La Porta, were at Kelly’s home on the South Side. Michael was shot in the back of his head by Kelly’s service gun. They had been drinking heavily that night. According to Chicago police, the shooting was classified as an endeavored suicide. This decision was reached based on Kelly’s account since he was the only one at his place during the incident.

kristina-flour-185592-copy-300x192On August 24th, 2017, Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 2373. This bill creates a better future for citizens with criminal records. It increases the amount of convictions that can be sealed by Illinois law. It has made Illinois the national leader in restoring the lives of those affected by the system. It concentrates on lowering habits related to crime. This ensures that Illinois families get better housing, education, and employment.

The new House Bill (HB) 2373 assists those in Illinois with criminal records fulfil their potential. Such citizens can now request judicial action to remove these records from public access.

Many organizations were busy pushing this law through. The same were claiming victory when the law was enacted on August 24, 2017. According to Governor Bruce Rauner, “Signing HB 2373 is another important step forward in our ongoing effort to make the Illinois criminal justice system more efficient and effective. This law will help people with criminal records obtain jobs, safe housing, and high-quality education, thereby reducing the likelihood of re-incarceration.”

aidan-bartos-313782-copy-300x200Although the entrapment defense against a charge of bribery is considered to be largely ineffective by many lawyers, it is nonetheless quite capable of leading to an acquittal. For recent cases, the collapsed trial of former Representative Ray Frias has shown that it is quite possible for an effective lawyer to make use of this unique defense strategy.

The defense in this case was so unlikely that other parties to the trial, including Lawrence Bloom, considered it to be a model for their own trials. Nevertheless, it is imperative that defendants think carefully before choosing this option.

For a start, it requires a complete confession and admission of the material facts in the case. For a politician, that can spell political doom since opponents will have a pre-prepared oppositional research statement from the admission.

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225Few laws have done as much damage to the US criminal justice system as the “three strikes” rule that operates in places such as Chicago. The basic premise of the law is that if someone is convicted more than three times of the same or similar offenses, the judge can aggravate the crime to one that deserves a life sentence or an inordinately long prison sentence. The laws seemed reasonable at their inception because it was hoped that they would help to curtail recidivists and prolific offenders.

In reality, the three strikes rule has meant that the prison system is overcrowded with nonviolent offenders who are serving shockingly long prison sentences. It is indeed possible to have a longer prison sentence for a third offense of drug possession than a first instance of murder. Some legal experts have critiqued the law as being fundamentally unconstitutional because it touches on the privileges granted by the 8th Amendment to US citizens. Besides, the provisions deny defendants the right to a fair trial even when they have lawyers.

Tying the Judges’ Hands

alex-holyoake-202959-copy-300x200A number of legal issues arise when an employee of a company commits assault on one of its customers. The lines of liability can be blurred, not least because the crime occurs on a business premises. Moreover, the employees are deemed to be working on behalf of their company during office hours. A distinction has to be made between the personal liability of the employee and the corporate liability of the employer. A good lawyer is the key to success in any case.

The first critical consideration is that the employee who has committed the assault is criminally liable for those ctions. When it comes to the civil cases, the employer may be asked to compensate the customer for any demonstrated injuries. Such was a case when a number of ex-bouncers admitted to assaulting customers in a club based within the Chelmsford area of Chicago.

Case Study of Employees Who Commit Assault During Business Hours

esteban-lopez-234052-copy-300x200The Chicago legislature has recently put laws in place that allow farmers to grow industrial hemp. This is a replacement of the old regime under which such actions were barred. A system of permits ensures that issues of public safety and good conduct are taken into consideration. Hemp belongs to the family of the cannabis plant. Although it can be used as a narcotic in sufficiently strong concentrations, it is also used to make textiles as well as paper-based industrial products. Farmers could potentially earn an income from this plant that is also on the banned list of substances. The old law was caught between encouraging genuine commercial activity and preventing the large-scale production of potential narcotics. The initial plan was to allow the cultivation for research purposes and then move on to commercial production for non-narcotic usage.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is intimately involved in all the proceedings so as to ensure appropriate oversight. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) previously classified hemp as a Schedule 1 Drug. That meant that farms could not legally grow it, certainly not on an industrial scale. The classification was based on the findings that the drug had a high potential for abuse. Those who dispute the classification argue that hemp contains only trace elements of the offending substance known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This is indeed the psychoactive chemical that is known to create a high for marijuana users. Over time, a number of states (now numbering 16) have gradually legalized the production of hemp for commercial purposes. By 2014, Illinois had put legislation in place to allow for the growing of hemp by State Universities and the Department of Agriculture.

The Narcotic with Huge Potential

raban-haaijk-118657-copy-225x300The civil asset forfeiture procedure has been significantly changed over the past few years in Chicago. The most common tool used is that of confiscation orders in cases where a court process has started or is contemplated. One of the reasons for these changes is the increase in the sophistication and breadth of financial crimes. It was felt that the people that committed these crimes got to retain a large proportion of their criminally-acquired assets, hence making a mockery of justice. The end result was the overturning of the “crime doesn’t pay” mantra. Therefore, these procedures were tightened up in order to allow the victims and the prosecution authorities to target those illegally acquired assets.

The standard procedure is to dispose of or auction off the ill-gotten gains from criminality. The resultant funds are returned to the treasury but the judge may order that the victims be compensated. In addition, there is always the option for victims to sue the perpetrator for damages. One of the most controversial uses of this procedure has been to seize what is considered to be drug-related paraphernalia. The intentions behind the operation are to root out criminality from its source and main motivation. However, the end result is that poorer people are targeted and they end up losing everything on the basis of a suspicion. The forensic teams may find it difficult to distinguish legitimate from tainted assets.

The Rationale Behind the Confiscations and Seizures