Archive for April, 2013

Medical Marijuana Law Approved by Illinois House

April 27th, 2013 at 9:18 am

GavelOn Wednesday, April 17th the Illinois House of Representatives held a vote about House Bill 0001.  It is a controversial attempt to create a regulatory system for medical marijuana.  The bill narrowly cleared in a 61-57 decision, but has support from the State Senate, who passed a similar bill in 2009, and from the Governor.

Although 18 other states have already legalized medical marijuana, the new regulations in Illinois will be the strictest in the country.  To qualify, the person must have one of 40 listed medical conditions as designated by a physician who has had a long relationship with the patient.  After that, the person who is prescribed medidcal marijuana can receive up to 2.5 ounces every two weeks from one of the 60 dispensaries that are regulated by the state.  The program is set to be a 4 year pilot which would require background checks for physicians as well as patients.

Both sides of the aisle voiced their opinions of this bill.  The proponents claimed that the decriminalization would allow those who suffer from illnesses to get relief without being driven to drug dealers and possible jail time for drug crimesRep. Lou Land, a Democrat, went so far to say that “we’re turning granny into a criminal” with current laws.

This legislation will be reviewed by the Senate soon, but at this time is not considered a law.  Yet, marijuana has been proven to be effective for treating nausea, pain, loss of appetite and other symptoms of serious illnesses.  If you have been charged with possession of illegal drugs, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Rolling Meadows who knows the tactics of prosecutors.

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Craigslist Rape Case May have Many More Victims

April 23rd, 2013 at 8:42 pm

According to a recent story by the Chicago Tribune, a Woodstock man contacted women who were offering sex for pay on the popular website, Craigslist. There have been 5 women identified in the case so far.

TheresaCharles Oliver arranged meetings with these women, who the court identified as being prostitutes and escorts. When he met with the women, he would eventually take them to his home in Woodstock. He then became violent with the women and forced them to engage in sexual acts with him. He threatened to kill several of the women and even tied them up and confined them to his basement.

When authorities searched his home, they found evidence that there may have been as many as 25 more women who were victimized. He had copies of identification cards and cell phones that he had taken from some of the women. Authorities are now working to locate the women whose personal belongings were found in his basement to determine if he had attacked them as well. Among the incriminating items that were found in his home were also thousands of photos that he had taken of him engaging in sexual acts with these women. Law enforcement authorities report that in some of the photos, the sex appears to be consensual, while in others it was clear that the women were forced.

Rape and sexual assault are very serious criminal charges that can be met with serious consequences if the accused suspect is convicted. If you have been accused of any kind of sexual misconduct or other criminal acts, you need to retain the assistance of an aggressive and knowledgeable Illinois criminal defense attorney to represent your interests.

An attorney should be retained before you even succumb to the questioning by the police. It is within your rights to have your attorney present during any questioning so that you do not accidentally incriminate yourself.

Parolee Arrested for Neighbor’s Murder

April 19th, 2013 at 7:32 am

Prosecutors have accused Paul Johnson, 34, of breaking into his Eligin’s neighbor home with a screwdriver in order to steal a DVD player, and then stabbing the woman who lived in the home. The stabbing eventually led to her death. He has been charged with first-degree murder, home invasion and residential burglary in the March 2 death of Lisa Koziol-Ellis, 33. The victim was found by her husband when he returned home from work.

Paul Johnson 3.27.2013.Kerry. Cosley .CrimPolice told the Chicago-Tribune that someone contacted them with information that led them to arrest Johnson. According to the report, Johnson told the witness that he broke into the Ellis’ apartment with the intention of robbing them, but was confronted by Koziol-Ellis. Johnson stabbed her multiple times with a screwdriver and a knife. He left the apartment, but then returned later to try to “clean up the scene”.

Prosecutors would not comment on whether or not a $15,000 reward offered by the victim’s family led to the witness coming forward.

Court records show the defendant has had multiple arrests in both Cook and Kane counties, mostly for armed robberies. In 2000, he was sentenced to eleven years in prison for armed robbery, including a charge of robbing an Elgin motel and tying up an employee. He is currently out on parole for an armed robbery conviction from 2010. Johnson received a four year prison sentence, for which he served 1 1/2 years. He is currently being held on $5 million bail and faces up to one hundred years if he is convicted of this crime.

If you are arrested for a serious crime, you need to hire an experienced Illinois violent crimes lawyer to fight these charges and protect your rights.

Limited Cameras Allowed In Courtroom For Murder Trial

April 17th, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Johnny Borizov has been charged with the first-degree murders of a Darien couple and their son. His trial, which is set to start next month at the DuPage County Courthouse, will be allowed to be filmed—with certain restrictions.

MelissaBoth prosecution and defense lawyers objected the use of cameras during the trial, but a judge overruled their concerns. However, he ordered that the cameras will have to be turned off during the testimony of the three witnesses who were in the couples’ residence while the murder took place. Additionally, the media wanted to place two video cameras and two still cameras in the courtroom, but the judge is only allowing one of each.

Lawyers are also required to inform their witnesses about the cameras before they testify. If a witness objects to either being on video or to having their photo being taken, the judge will rule on an individual basis whether they must be turned off.

A hearing is set for a week prior to the start of the trial in order to figure out the exact placement for the cameras. Since last fall, when the DuPage County Courthouse first started allowing video cameras in courtrooms, this will be the first criminal trial to actually use them. The Courts Administrator, John Lapinski, said to the Chicago Tribune in this article that “logistically, it’s just more complicated.”

Borizov is charged with convincing a friend to break into the house of Jacob and Lori Kramer, where he then shot them along with their 20-year-old son, Michael. Another son, his guest, and Angela Kramer were also in the house at the time but escaped injury.

The prosecution is claiming he did this because he was going through a bitter child custody dispute with Angela. The friend, Jacob Nodarse, has already pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the murders. He will not be videotaped, but can have still pictures taken during his testimony for the prosecution.

Being charged with a criminal offense can seriously affect your life. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Chicago or its suburbs, it is best to speak with a lawyer to discuss your options. Contact our firm in Rolling Meadows today.

 

Image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Truants are more likely to end up in prison

April 15th, 2013 at 1:12 pm

LucyAt least 135 of the 182 young men that have recently been locked up in Illinois’s three medium-security youth prisons used to miss school often enough that they were labeled chronic truants.

When they were booked, nearly 60% of them were reading below a third grade level.

At the Illinois Youth Center St. Charles, the largest of the three facilities,63 of the 72 youths had dropped out of school completely by the time they were incarcerated.

These figures remind us that absence from school during childhood is often one of the first warnings of criminal behavior that can be the cause of ruining young lives and burdening society with costs of street violence, welfare and prison.

The records highlight the consequences of a crisis in K-8 grade truancy in Chicago that officials have ignored for a long time, although they have promised to address it in the wake of a Tribune investigation, which found that tens of thousands of city elementary students miss at least of month of school in any given year.

Although the prison data consists of raw numbers, behind them is a rough parade of youths whose cases fill the Cook County Juvenile Court docket.

One 2011 court reported stated that a 15-year-old boy had been accused of selling $10 and $20 bags of heroin and “is not attending any school at this moment.” Court records show that he had disappeared from Chicago’s public schools two years earlier.

Superintendent of the juvenile prison schools Kyle Gaffey said, “When they are not coming to school, they are getting themselves in trouble. We have youth who’ve reported to us that they haven’t been in school since the fourth grade.”

Under Illinois law, students cannot drop out of school before age 17, but hundreds do every year.

From 1999 through 2007, about 3,000 students in grades K-8 were listed as dropouts, but in 2008, 6,525 students were listed when kids were supposed to transfer to another school, but never completed enrollment.

After 2008, Chicago officials stated that a state rule change meant that dropouts in elementary school no longer needed to be reported. The Tribune’s analysis, however, found that thousands of K-8 students were listed as “unable to locate” or “did not arrive” between 2008 and 2011.

If your child has been skipping school, or worse, has already gotten into criminal trouble, contact a family law attorney to fight for your child in court. Shaw Jacobs Goosetree & Associates can help you get your child back on the right track in St. Charles today.

DUI Laws in Illinois

April 12th, 2013 at 4:33 pm

AmandaEach state has different laws regarding driving under the influence. While some rules do vary across the nation, many of the punishments do not. In Illinois, to be considered intoxicated while driving for citizens 21 or older, their blood alcohol contact has to be at .08%. If you are under the age of 21, if there is any alcohol in your system, you can be charged with a DUI.

For your 1st offense, in Illinois, you can get either jail-time of up to one year, a fine of up to $2,500, a license suspension for a minimum of a year, a breath alcohol ignition interlock device, vehicle registration suspension, or community service. However, if there is a child under the age of 16 in the car, you can get jail-time of at least six months, or a minimum fine of $1,000.

If the DUI was your 2nd offense, it is possible to get jail-time for a year along with 240 hours of community service. There can be a fine of up to $2,500. If there was child present under the age of 16, you may have to pay a fine that can add up to $25,000, or serve jail-time for up to 1-3 years.

In 2011, Illinois issued new DUI laws. On January 1, 2011, they had amended the Unified Code of Corrections. It stated, “that those convicted of a DUI accident that occurred on or after the amendment date where the accident was proximate cause of greatly bodily harm or permanent shall receive no more than 4.5 days of good conduct credit for each month of the offender’s sentence of imprisonment,” according to the Illinois DUI Laws website.

If you are being charged with a DUI, make sure to call a lawyer as soon as possible. Contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney today.

Chicago Gun Laws Don’t Stop Homicides

April 8th, 2013 at 4:05 pm

AmandaHandguns have been outlawed in Chicago for may years, until 2010, when the Supreme Court decided that the ban was in violation the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.There are still no legal gun shops in the city of Chicago. This led the city leaders to have to settle for higher restrictions that were as close to actually banning the guns. Even with these high restrictions, Chicago is still one of the top cities for gun violence. In 2012, there were over 500 homicides, and in January alone, there were 40 killings.

To many citizens who want a full gun-ban in the US, Chicago proves to be a city of reference. Even with such strict gun control laws, there is still a vast amount of shootings. But for citizens who are pro-guns, they believe that the city proves that there needs to be more nationwide gun laws, rather than state-to-state or city-to-city. According to Rev. Ira J. Acree, a pastor who marched and got signatures to end shootings, said, “Chicago is like a house with two parents that may try to have good rules, but it’s like you’ve got this single house sitting on a whole block where there’s anarchy.”

Because of the different sets of laws varying from states and cities, it makes it difficult for police to find the gun violations. Not only are the laws different in each state, but also the punishments vary from jail-time to fines. Some punishments are seen as not as severe as others so many citizens do not take them seriously.

If you or anyone you know has been affected by any sort of gun violation be sure to contact a lawyer immediately. Contact an experienced Illinois Criminal Attorney to help you out.

Bail Set For Policeman Who Caused Two Fatalities

April 4th, 2013 at 4:00 pm

MelissaTerrell Garret, a North Chicago police officer, was issued $500,000 bail by Judge James Brown. Garrett is charged with two criminal counts of aggravated driving under the influence and two counts of reckless homicide, according to this report from the Chicago Tribune. If Garrett is able to post 10 per cent of the bail, he will be released but will have to wear an electronic monitoring device in order to prevent him from driving during the case.

The 35-year-old officer from Zion, Illinois, was allegedly driving the wrong way on Lake Shore Drive in the early hours of Friday, March 15 when he struck a car containing two men. These two occupants—Fabian Torres, 27, and Joaquin Garcia, 25—were both killed in the accident.

Garrett has been a police officer since 2008, and has been placed on leave since the accident. Garcia was going to graduate from Malcolm X College in May, and Torres was at DePaul University in Chicago.

Families of both victims believe that Garrett is receiving special treatment because he is a police officer. Garrett was not in court when his bail was set, as he is still in the hospital with a fractured left hip. During the proceedings, it was released that his blood alcohol content was 0.184 at the time of the accident.

One other driver was injured in the crash, but was treated at the hospital and released.

Facing a misdemeanor or felony—be it driving under the influence, shoplifting, breaking and entering, or any other criminal charge—is a serious offense that can have a lasting impact on your life. If you’ve been charged with any criminal activity, it is important to speak with a talented Cook County attorney to learn more about your options. Contact our law firm in Rolling Meadows, Illinois today to see how we can help you.

 

 

Image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net