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Archive for July, 2013

School Principal Arrested for DUI

July 30th, 2013 at 9:18 am

Most people would agree that it is the role of school employees to educate children and to serve as a good example to them. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, a private school principal served as anything except a role model.

Theresa

Joseph Academy principal, Michael Zajac, was arrested on DUI charges with a blood alcohol level that was two times the legal limit. What is ironic about the arrest is that Joseph Academy, located in Hometown, is a school that deals with children who have “severe emotional challenges”, as cited by the school’s website.

This is not Zajac’s first brush with the law. He received a DUI in 1997 as well as 2000. He also was convicted of battery in 2003 for which he received a sentence of 25 days of public service and 18 months of supervision by the court. With his current arrest, he is facing several charges. He has been charged with a felony aggravated DUI and he also received citations for improper lane usage, speeding, illegal transport of alcohol, and not having proof of insurance. He has been ordered by the Cook County Criminal Court to be held on a bond of $25,000.00.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drug is a serious offense that could lead to the injury of yourself as well as other people. If you are going to be drinking, make use of a designated driver. If you do find yourself charged with a drunk driving charge, the first thing that you need to do is to contact a Chicago criminal defense attorney to represent you right away. It is your attorney’s job and mission to present the best defense in your case. This is especially true if like the above story, you have more than one drunk driving conviction.

 

Man Charged with Beating Pregnant Girlfriend and Killing Unborn Baby

July 26th, 2013 at 8:47 am

TheresaAccording to a recent report by DNA Info, a 23-year-old man is facing serious charges after an altercation with his pregnant girlfriend. The couple resided together in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood.

Investigators found that the couple does have an 11-month-old child together but that Jovanny Martinez was not the father of the child that she was pregnant with. They started arguing about her pregnancy and the fight ended up getting physical. Martinez then started punching her in the stomach repeatedly. Soon after, the victim reported that she thought that her water broke. She realized that she was bleeding. The victim was then taken to the hospital where she gave birth to a stillborn daughter.

Initially, the victim told law enforcement officials that she had been attacked by a group of women and one man. However, later she recanted her statement and identified Martinez as the person who attacked her.

Martinez was on probation for a felony burglary conviction from 2012 and he has been convicted to two misdemeanors previously. For these charges, he is being help on a bond of $700,000.00. He is being charged with homicide of an unborn child, felony aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, and felony aggravated domestic battery.

If you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence, the first thing that you need to do is to retain an experienced and aggressive Chicago area criminal defense attorney. No matter how bad your charges are, your defense attorney will protect your rights and present the best possible defense. Your attorney will also negotiate alternative agreements with the prosecution instead of taking the case to trial. If you choose to go to trial, your attorney will represent you in the trail to ensure that you get the fair trial that everyone has the right to have.

White Collar Crime

July 23rd, 2013 at 8:47 am

LucyWhite collar crimes cover a very broad spectrum because there is no exact definition. Most often, however, white collar crimes are thought of as crimes committed by business people that involve cheating and dishonesty. Usually these people commit these crimes under the cover of a legitimate business as well, so the crime can remain hidden for a long time without suspicion.

Because it is very difficult to create a definition that defines all white collar crimes, there are federal laws and state laws that are specific to certain types of white collar crimes and also umbrella laws that encompass anything else.

Here are two examples of white collar crimes:

Obstruction of Justice

Obstruction of justice can be committed in many ways, as long as it somehow interferes with one of the three branches of government. Some examples of obstruction include influencing a juror outside the courtroom, altering a record process, obstructing any criminal investigation by law officials and assaulting a process server.

Other actions that many be prosecuted as obstruction of justice include using any sound amplification device, picketing or parading in front of any building occupied by a court office, witness, juror or judge.

Perjury

When anyone willfully and knowingly swears to tell the truth, it is not taken lightly. If someone swears to honesty orally or in writing and speaks falsely under oath, they will be charged with perjury. Under this piece of the law, it is also illegal for someone to force someone else to commit perjury.

If you have been accused of committing a white collar crime such as obstruction of justice, perjury or some other form of a white collar crime, contact attorney Chris Cosley in Rolling Meadows, Ill. Cosley criminal attorneys will do everything they can to assist you with your white collar crime court case today.

Probation Supervision

July 20th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

LucyIf you have been charged with and found guilty of a crime in the U.S., you may have to pay a fine, serve jail time and/or be on probation for a certain length of time. Probation is usually after you get out of jail, although sometimes it is a less severe alternative, when you can live home, but you are still under strict supervision by law officials and you are still limited to what you can and cannot do.

When you are being supervised for probation, your officer makes sure that people on probation follow all the conditions that were set by the court when he or she was released.

Probation officers are also responsible for the safety of the community in which the person on probation is released into. Along with the safety of the community, probation officers also help with the health of the person on probation. This includes medical care, employment assistance and mental health treatment, basically anything that will help him or her to re-enter into the community.

If you have a probation officer, it is his or her responsibility to monitor you at all times, be a line of communication to the court and to keep you and people around you safe. They must interfere in a situation in which you are involved if they do not approve, and be sure that you know what the court expects from you and help you to achieve that.

Probation officers are not meant to be friends, they are doing their jobs as officers of the law. It would be much easier for criminals to not have to check in and be monitored at all times. If you have been accused of a crime, however, contact a criminal attorney to help you get out probation-free. Attorney Christopher Cosley can help you in a Rolling Meadows crime court today.

Chicago Grandmother Accused of Killing Girl

July 16th, 2013 at 12:31 pm

A Chicago grandmother, Helen M. Ford, 51, is being held on no bail and is facing a murder charge in the death of her granddaughter, according to the New York Daily News. According to the Daily News, Ford had been inflicting “abuse for so long that the dead little girl had maggots living in a head wound that had gone untreated.” The girl, Gizzell Kiara Ford, was eight years old. She was dead, and her body had already gone cold, when cops responded to a call of a person not breathing, according to the Daily News. “The girl lived with her grandmother and bedridden father, both of whom were home when the girl died,” reports the Daily News. “Ford initially told cops the girl inflicted the injuries herself, but police found several bruises, burns, and cuts on her body, lying face up in a bedroom in the home.”  Chicago Grandmother Accused of Killing Girl  IMAGE

In a shocking case, police revealed that “some of the blunt force trauma happened so long ago that maggots had hatched in a head wound and moved to the front of the girl’s scalp while she was still living… the horrific list of abuse also included deep cuts on her buttocks, ligature marks on her ankles and wrists and possible cigarette burns on her body,” reports the Daily News. The official cause of death, according to the Chicago Tribune, was strangulation and several blunt trauma injuries from child abuse and neglect. According to the Tribune, “Helen Ford told police her granddaughter was upset that her mother was not visiting her and would run into furniture in the apartment and bang her head on things,” which investigators quickly ruled out.

According to childhelp–usa.com, “every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States, involving nearly 6 million children.” That’s the worst record in any industrialized nation in the world, with five child deaths every day due to abuse-related causes.

If you or someone you know has been accused of child abuse, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Chicago criminal defense attorney today.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Illinois Commission Advises to Treat all 17-Year-Olds as Adults

July 12th, 2013 at 8:31 am

A state juvenile justice advisory group has recently recommended that Illinois should start treating all 17-year-olds that have been charged with felonies as adults.

Lucy, KH post (Dropbox photo)The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission is a 24 member advisory group that is chaired by retired chief judge George Timberlake from Mount Vernon. The commission issued its report just after examining the impact of a change in the state law in 2010.

Before the 2010 law change, anyone older than 16 that was charged with any type of crime was treated as a legal adult and went through the adult court system.

Beginning in 2010, when the General Assembly reached a compromise, 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanors were to be handled in the juvenile courts and 17-year-olds charged with felonies were to be prosecuted as adults.

Most states have set 18 as the default age for when criminal defendants are to be treated as adults. Illinois, however, is one of only 12 states with a lower age, according to the commission.

The recommendation from the Illinois commission states that “in the interest of fairness and public safety,” all 17-year-olds charged with any type of crime should be handled in juvenile courts, except those who must be transferred to an adult court for specific serious offenses.

The commission found that , “Instead of drawing a wise, safe or clear distinction between minor and serious offenses, the Illinois law splitting 17-year-olds between two court systems caused confusion, and jurisdictional questions still regularly arise when 17-year-olds are arrested.”

In a prepared statement, Timberlake stated that now, research demonstrates that the Illinois juvenile justice system “can manage the addition of 17-year-olds charged with felonies, it’s time to complete the reform.”

If you have been charged with a crime, especially if you are a 17-year-old in Illinois, having an experienced criminal attorney is very important. Contact our criminal defense lawyers in DuPage, Cook, Kane and Will Counties today for assistance.

Can’t Search This

July 8th, 2013 at 4:45 pm

The fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution is one of the most important protections against governmental intrusion. It guarantees the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” In other words, the fourth amendment requires that searches or seizures be reasonable. “So, what is reasonable?” one may ask. Courts have interpreted reasonableness to require a warrant supported by probable cause.  Thus, before law enforcement officials can search something or someone, or arrest someone, they need to go in front of a judge with enough evidence and obtain a warrant.

RigsHowever, the Supreme Court of the United States has recognized certain exceptions to the warrant based on probable cause requirement. For example, in what are known as Terry stops (named after the Terry v. Ohio case), law enforcement officers may briefly detain someone and quickly perform a pat down search if the officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot. These searches, however, are meant to ensure the safety of law enforcement, i.e. if the officer has a reason to believe that the suspect is carrying a weapon, he should be allowed to ensure that the person is not a danger to the officer. Terry stops, however, are not supposed to be a fact gathering expedition.

Not surprisingly, police officers have used Terry stops to gather evidence without a warrant. In People v. Sorenson, for example, the police officer pulled over a car with three occupants. After having no luck frisking the driver, the officer asked to search the backseat passenger, even asking him to take off his boots, which revealed an illicit substance. Although, at first blush it would appear that the search was not justified, the court agreed with the officer and refused to suppress the evidence obtained in the warrantless search.

Law enforcement agencies can exploit whatever constitutional loopholes they wish to, despite the protections that the fourth amendment guarantees. If you are charged with a crime, an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney can ensure you have the full protection of the Constitution.

 

Image courtesy of Simon Howden / freedigitalphotos.net

Willful Blindness

July 4th, 2013 at 8:35 am

RigsMost convictions require that the prosecution prove the defendant had a criminal intent to commit the crime. Absent an outright admission, prosecutors have to rely on circumstantial evidence to prove criminal intent. Some defendants have attempted to negate criminal intent by turning a blind eye to criminal behavior.

For example, A, a person with a reputation of being a drug trafficker, asks B to transport a package. Because of A’s reputation, B suspects that the package’s contents may be illegal, but decides to transport it anyway while purposely avoiding knowledge of the package’s contents. This is called ‘willful blindness’ and it has landed many people in jail.

The seminal case holding that willful blindness will not preclude a finding of criminal intent is U.S. v. Jewell. In that case, like the example above, the court had to decide whether ‘positive knowledge’ is a requirement for conviction of a crime that requires criminal intent before a jury can find someone guilty. In Jewell, there was a dispute whether the defendant actually knew that the vehicle in which he was traveling contained marijuana. Defendant argued that he purposely avoided knowledge of any potential drugs in a secret compartment of the car. This so called ‘ostrich defense’, i.e. purposely burying one’s head in the sand to avoid knowledge, did not fly. The court held that there was enough evidence to support a conclusion that defendant was aware of a “high probability” that the vehicle contained an illegal substance. The fact that he did not have ‘actual knowledge’ was not enough to avoid a conviction.

Juries rely on circumstantial evidence to show the necessary state of mind for a criminal conviction all the time. Defenses to a criminal charge are fact specific and require skilled legal representation. If you are facing a criminal charge, an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney can help.

 

Image courtesy of sakhorn38 / freedigitalphotos.net

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