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Archive for June, 2017

City Admits Wrongdoing When Trying to Fix Previous Error on Red Light Tickets

June 26th, 2017 at 7:00 am

red light tickets, Rolling Meadows traffic ticket lawyer, speeding tickets, traffic offenses, traffic violationsThe city of Chicago had inaccuracies on 1.9 million red light and speed-camera tickets. In an attempt to correct this mistake, it appears that Mayor Rahm Emanuel may have exacerbated the issue.

City Hall sent mail to recipients of the red light and speed camera tickets. The letters received attempted to offer another chance to appeal the tickets in court. The measure is widely identified as an effort to ward off a class-action lawsuit, pleading that the city failed to provide ticket holders enough time or notice to challenge their tickets.

One Cook County resident received five red light camera tickets for which she could only make out two of the videos. She was quoted as saying, “It’s alarming that they would do something like this.”

An official spokesman, Michael Claffey, indicated that the process to correct the fault in the system denying people adequate notice to contest their tickets would take considerable time to rectify.

Cook County offered no explanation for the issue, but opined that the malfunction might have been a result of the high traffic on the city’s website. The offer from the city to allow ticket holders another opportunity to appeal their tickets comes after a Cook County Circuit Judge denied a motion from the city to dismiss a class-action suit alleging the city violated due process by failing to provide adequate notice.

A Chicago attorney stated, “the Emanuel administration’s effort to force people to relitigate the city’s illegal behavior is a sham.” That same attorney explained that out of the 37 cases related to these red light cameras, 18 had no photographs or videos.

Need to Contest a Red Light Camera Ticket?

If you or a loved one has received a ticket in the mail from a red light camera or speed camera, you may have an opportunity to fight it. Rolling Meadows traffic ticket lawyer Christopher M. Cosley is an experienced and proven defense lawyer who represents his clients in a litany of issues relating to traffic violations.

Do not blindly accept that you have no options when you receive a ticket. Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 to schedule your initial consultation. Or, visit our website www.cosleycriminaldefense.com. Our 24-hour answering service is designed to get you the advice you need when you need it.

Source:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/redlight/ct-red-light-camera-notices-0108-20170106-story.html

Criminal Cases: Who Needs Science for Scientific Evidence?

June 21st, 2017 at 12:18 pm

criminal cases, criminal trials, forensic testing, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, scientific evidenceAttorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced that the National Commission on Forensic Science is to be dissolved. The National Commission on Forensic Science is a non-political commission whose mandate is to oversee and advance the reliability and preciseness of scientific evidence used in criminal cases.

The commission is made up of a mixed group of people who are trained to monitor and audit the uses of scientific evidence. Various agencies including federal, state, and local forensic service providers work together to strengthen the reliability of forensic science as a whole and particularly how it is used in criminal cases.

Forensic evidence explains a type of evidence that can come in many forms. Forensic evidence can be:

  • Dental records;
  • Fingerprints;
  • Genetic material;
  • Trace chemicals;
  • Shoe imprints;
  • Bodily fluids; or
  • Skin cells.

Forensic evidence can be defined as evidence that was gained through scientific methodology like ballistics testing, blood analysis, or DNA testing. It is evidence used to link crimes together or to build a narrative about what the prosecution thinks happened in a particular case.

The Attorney General is poised to lay the responsibility of forensic testing squarely on the shoulders of the police and prosecutors office. However, unbridled scientific evidence that is used at criminal trials by prosecutors is extremely problematic in that it can lead directly to the conviction of innocent people.

When the authenticity of scientific results is maintained by the side of the criminal justice system that seeks to use it, the potential for misuse or corruption is ever present.

In 2015, the United States Department of Justice, in conjunction with the FBI, found that nearly every examiner in the FBI’s microscopic hair unit “gave misleading, exaggerated, or otherwise flawed testimony in criminal cases between 1972 and 1999.” Hence, the criminal justice system has been speculating results, not providing reliable results, with regard to evidence used to send people to jail.

Do Not Fear Forensic Evidence

Many criminal trials turn on forensic evidence. It is evidence prosecutors rely on, evidence juries like to hear, and evidence intended to be inherently reliable. If you are the defendant in a criminal trial and the state has forensic evidence they intend to use against you, a skilled and experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can defend your rights and challenge the evidence against you. Contact our Rolling meadows office at 847-394-3200 to schedule your initial consultation. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley is prepared 24 hours a day to serve our clients in need of criminal defense.

Sources:

http://www.newsweek.com/sessionss-assault-forensic-science-will-lead-more-unsafe-convictions-585762

https://www.justice.gov/archives/ncfs

My Teen Has Been Arrested. Now What?

June 19th, 2017 at 2:37 pm

juvenile crimes, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, teen has been arrested, juvenile criminal case, criminal convictionRaising children can be one of the most rewarding yet challenging parts of adult life. Our children go out into the world as extensions of ourselves, and as parents we constantly worry about their safety and how we can keep them out of trouble. We even attempt to plan ahead for any potential issues that may arise—we teach our children the difference between right and wrong and instill moral values. Still, bad decisions are made.

Decisions can Become Criminal in a Split Second

It only takes a moment for an otherwise thoughtful and law abiding teen to make a decision that can change the rest of his or her life. According to federal records in 2010, 1.6 million juveniles were arrested. Recent governmental research suggests that nearly 30.2 percent of American citizens will be arrested by the time they are 23 years of age.

The most common types of juvenile criminal cases involve the following:

These crimes do not make our teens bad people. However, they may land our loved ones in trouble with the law—loved ones who may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Children may succumb to peer pressure without understanding the dire consequences that they are risking with their future. One bad decision does not have to, nor should it, relegate our youth to an entire life of crime.

Police Interaction With Our Children

For many parents who are trying to protect the interests of their children once they have been arrested, the most shocking development is that there are little national procedural standards for how police officers interact with minors once they have been arrested.

Police officers are required to notify a minor’s parents in a reasonable time after he or she has been arrested. Moreover, police are required to inform a minor’s parents of the nature of the charge as well as the next proposed steps that law enforcement will take in the case.

In the majority of instances, police will allow a parent to be present during an official interrogation. However, federally, there is no guarantee that protects a parent’s right to be present during a federal investigation inquiry.

Despite not having a constitutionally protected right to be present at your minor child’s interrogation, your minor does have a right to have a lawyer present during questioning. Additionally, at any time during the investigation, if your child asks for a lawyer, then the interview must end.

The most important step you can take to help your minor child who has been arrested to enlist the help of a talented Illinois criminal defense lawyer.

Erect Your Defense Immediately

Criminal investigations are fraught with peril. The government has extensive resources and the advantage of knowing their intentions. A criminal conviction for a juvenile can have disastrous effects on his or her future. It may affect the juvenile’s ability to gain employment, take advantage of certain governmental programs, or be able to secure a professional license. Contact our skilled and relentless Rolling Meadows juvenile criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Call 847-394-3200.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ChapterID=50&ActID=1863

Illinois Mayor Opposes Consent Decree

June 14th, 2017 at 7:00 am

consent decree, police reform, Rahm Emanuel, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, criminal allegationsWhen recently asked about an independent federal monitor, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel explained that “it is exactly the right way,” in regards to proposed oversight for the Chicago Police Department.

Negotiations between the Mayor and the Justice Department are focused on a memorandum of agreement. This would incorporate the structure for approving reforms that federal authorities have advocated for in the wake of several controversies which have rocked the Chicago Police Department in recent years.

Justice Department approval would still be required for the oversight measures to go into effect. The measures would include explicit oversight by an appointed independent monitor to oversee the proposed reforms. The Mayor’s administration believes that this is an important step further. However, some reform advocates are not satisfied.

Why Reform Advocates Want a Consent Decree

Police reform advocates had counted on a federal consent decree that authorizes the court to enforce the new policies instead of just monitoring them. The mayor defended his administration’s argument alleging that the road to reform is not as important as the reform itself.

Critics say that in the wake of the searing report released by the Justice Department roughly four months ago, more needs to be done than simply monitoring a problem that the community already knows exists. The Chicago Police Department has been saddled with controversies over their use of force policies.

The former head of the Civil Rights Division has argued that Chicago has seen a pattern of recommendations without teeth and that a consent decree would be a more potent tool to hold the police accountable to the suggested reforms.

The Justice Department and Consent Decrees

For a consent decree to take effect, the Justice Department must sign off on it. Initially, in the wake of the Justice Department report, Mayor Emanuel supported a consent decree. However, after the appointment of the current Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, it is unlikely that an agreement for a consent decree would be worked out with the city.

Police Investigations

Being investigated for a crime is a harrowing experience. One that is fraught with legal peril and can have serious detrimental consequences on your life. It is unwise to face these allegations on your own. Our experienced and dauntless Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney will defend your rights at every stage of your investigation or subsequent case. Contact our Cook County office at 847-394-3200 to schedule your initial consultation.

Sources:

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/independent-monitor-included-in-cpd-reform-agreement-sent-to-doj/amp/

https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/mayor-defends-cpd-monitor-over-consent-decree/2b92530c-0bb0-4c95-acb7-4cade9cc9d3a

The Difference Between an Assault Charge and a Battery Charge

June 12th, 2017 at 12:33 pm

assault and battery, assault charge, battery charges, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, Illinois crimeAssault and battery is a common criminal charge. We often see the charges linked together as if they are the same offense. However, in the state of Illinois, these are two distinct charges that many times go hand in hand with each other but do not have to.

Criminal assault in Illinois is defined as an act or conduct that places another individual in reasonable apprehension of bodily harm. Whereas, a battery is the actual unwanted, unsolicited physical conduct which usually immediately follows an assault. Still, there can be a battery without the accompanying assault charge—the same way one can be charged with assault without being charged with a battery.

Why Does the Difference Matter?

The difference between the two matters because the available defenses differ based on the crime or crimes with which you are being charged. For example, self-defense is a common defense to a battery allegation; however, self-defense is not a traditional defense to a pure assault charge. General defenses to assault and battery charges include:

  • Defense of property;
  • Self-defense or defense of another;
  • Consent of the victim to the contact (battery charge specific); and
  • Lack of a legally reasonable apprehension about an impending battery (assault charge specific).

Are the Penalties for an Assault the Same for a Battery?

This is a question for your Chicago criminal defense attorney. There are many variables that can affect the sentence of either an assault or a battery. Those variables include:

  • Whether the assault had a sexual component;
  • Whether the battery included a deadly weapon; and
  • The types of injuries the victim sustained.

A “simple” assault is a class C misdemeanor under Illinois law. This can carry a fine of up to $1,500 and up to 30 days in jail. However, if one of the above-mentioned aggravating circumstances is present, then the fines can become significantly harsher. For example, if you are convicted of felony aggravated assault and battery, you may be facing a class 4 felony that carries a potential punishment of up to three years. Other aggravating factors can affect your sentencing, like having a prior record.

I Have been Charged with Assault and Battery, How Do I know if it is a Felony?

The first step you need to take is to consult your experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our dedicated legal team defends misdemeanors as well as felony criminal charges of assault and battery. A Criminal conviction may alter the course of your life for good.  Therefore, do not try and defend yourself alone. Contact us at 847-394-3200, 24 hours a day, so that we can get to work defending you and your rights.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt.+12%2C+Subdiv.+5&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=20887500&SeqEnd=22225000

Illinois Innocence Project

June 7th, 2017 at 7:00 am

Illinois Innocence Project, Rolling Meadows, exoneree, criminal justice system, criminal charges, Illinois crimeYou were innocent. You knew it all along and now you have your freedom. But what happens next?

There is a group operating out of Springfield, Illinois called the Illinois Innocence Project. They have been working since early 2001 to overturn wrongful criminal convictions in Illinois. At the start, their primary focus was exonerating inmates through legal avenues, and the group has had much success.

The most recent example of their success was the release of one man, Charles Palmer, who was set free the day before thanksgiving in 2016, after he had been forced to spend 18 years of his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

A surprising yet inevitable new issue to address arose when the Illinois Innocence Project noticed that many times the people who were exonerated lacked educational, emotional, or familial support once they were released. 

Governor Bruce Rauner has advocated for a 25 percent reduction in the Illinois prison population within the next 10 years. The time frame in which the inmates reenter society is important because they have an opportunity to prepare themselves for release, get their affairs in order, and otherwise have a more temperate and gradual reintroduction to society.

Not every inmate released has that opportunity. Take for example, Charles Palmer, who had roughly two weeks’ notice that there was a possibility for his release, and did not find out until the day before his release that his freedom was probable. This presents a massive challenge to an exoneree who otherwise had no reason to anticipate his or her release. According to John Hanlon, the executive and legal director for IIP, “the average exoneree does not have any money, a job, or even any place to go. It’s a tremendous challenge.”

What to Do If You Are Charged with a Crime You Did Not Commit

If you are arrested or charged with a crime, then the very first step you should take is to contact a lawyer. Your lawyer will offer you advice on questions you should or should not answer. Immediately contacting a lawyer also gives your attorney time to note any important details surrounding your case—information which may help give you the best opportunity to fight the crimes for which you have been charged. 

The criminal justice system is a massive machine with numerous moving parts all moving against you. This is not the time to try and stand on your own two feet. You need an experienced and fearless Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney to stand up with you and defend your rights. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200. 

Source:

http://illinoistimes.com/article-18578-you%25E2%2580%2599re-a-free-man_-now-what.html

When Police Confiscate Property

June 5th, 2017 at 7:15 am

police confiscate property, Rolling Meadows, criminal law, seize property, civil forfeiture, private propertyIllinois lawmakers unanimously passed a measure making it more arduous for law enforcement to confiscate property from innocent owners. The bill passed in the Senate and will now head to the house.

The plan would shift the burden of proof to authorities in circumstances where they seize an individual’s property under a criminal investigation. As it stands, Illinois law allows for the confiscation of an individual’s property even in cases where no formal charges are levied against the owner.

There is a strong financial incentive for law enforcement agencies to seize property. Once the property has been taken, then the agency who took possession of the property, in many cases, reaps the rewards of the proceeds from the civil asset forfeiture. In addition to not having a constitutionally guaranteed right to counsel once a person has had his or her property seized, it can be costly to challenge and often leaves people with no mechanism to get their property back.

What is Civil Forfeiture?

Civil forfeiture refers to the legal process in which law enforcement seizes assets from a person suspected of involvement with criminal activity. The controversial nature of this policy has its genesis in the fact that formal criminal charges do not have to be filed to seize property. Every year in Illinois, authorities snatch tens of millions of dollars in cash, cars, and land from Illinois state citizens. As of 2005, Illinois law enforcement has seized over $319 million from Illinois residents in concert with federal authorities who have seized over $404 million over the same period.

Forfeiture laws can be traced back to admiralty law. Historically, authorities were allowed to seize contraband from ships engaging in criminal activity. The Crime Control Act of 1984 broadened civil forfeiture at the federal level.  

Proposed Changes

The new bill passed by the Illinois Senate would place a stricter burden on law enforcement officials attempting to seize private citizens property. The bill would require that officials prove that the individual consented to his or her assets being used for criminal activity, reversing the current law requiring the citizen to prove that he or she was not involved. The new law would also create a streamlined process for innocent parties who have had their property seized to take possession of their property.

Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense

Being charged with a crime is a serious ordeal, even in cases where no civil forfeiture has occurred. It is essential to enlist the help of a dedicated and knowledgeable Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley provides clients with thorough and detailed criminal defense for matters including traffic offenses, DUI defense, and a litany of other criminal cases. Contact our Rolling Meadows office at 847-394-3200 to schedule your initial consultation.

Source:

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/reports/asset-forfeiture-in-illinois/

10-Year-Olds and Juvenile Detention

June 2nd, 2017 at 11:37 am

juvenile detention, Rolling MeadowsA sweeping wave of legislation aimed at restructuring the juvenile criminal system in Illinois has taken hold. Many lawmakers and civil rights activists nationwide are advocating for less punitive sentences for minors who are ensnared in the criminal justice system.

Minors and Juvenile Detention

Illinois law demands that the minimum age that a child can be held in a juvenile detention center is 10. The nationwide regulation is 13, as recommended by the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative—a Maryland-based private philanthropy foundation. The minimum age in Illinois to serve time in a juvenile state prison, as opposed to juvenile detention, is 13.

Illinois lawmakers and juvenile justice advocates are arguing that the age required to be detained in a juvenile detention center should be raised to 13. It seems unlikely that a bill would pass, however, without language carving out an exception for certain classifications of felonies. Advocates of raising the age to 13 argue that adding an exception would ruin the intent of the bill.

Juvenile detention centers operate much like jails except for minor children. Illinois law prevents, in most cases, a minor from spending over 30 days at a time in a juvenile detention center. However, there are cases where children fall through the cracks and spend longer periods of time in a juvenile detention center, especially when mental health issues exist.

Why Lawmakers Want to Keep 10-Year-Olds Out of Juvenile Detention

It is settled science that a child’s decision-making ability is different and less developed than that of an adult. Elizabeth Clarke, President of the Juvenile Justice Initiative, is quoted as arguing that locking away a child, who many times has never been away from home for any period of time, is extremely detrimental to that child and can cause life long issues.

For 16 years, supporters of criminal justice reform have pursued legislation that would curb the number of children ending up in juvenile prisons. There has been little progress regarding the detention of elementary school aged children. On the forefront of this initiative is the Juvenile Redeploy program. Since the inception of the Juvenile Redeploy program, there has been a notable decline of juveniles being imprisoned and detained.

Rolling Meadows Juvenile Criminal Defense

A juvenile conviction may not seem as severe as an adult conviction, but the consequences can be extensive. A skilled and experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile criminal defense lawyer will be integral to you securing the best possible outcome for your case. Contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 or visit www.cosleycriminaldefense.com to schedule a consultation today.

Source:

http://nprillinois.org/post/illinois-issues-should-10-year-old-kids-be-kept-juvenile-detention#stream/0

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