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Archive for the ‘defense’ tag

Ignorance of the Law in Illinois

July 1st, 2015 at 4:53 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois criminal justice system,No one knows everything. We are human. However, when it comes to ignorance and the criminal law in Illinois, there is somewhat of a double standard. Criminal defendants are held responsible for their ignorance, but police are not.

What is the Law Regarding Defendants’ Ignorance?

Under Illinois statute, knowledge that certain conduct constitutes an offense is not an element of the offense unless the statute explicitly makes it so. Similarly, knowledge of the existence, meaning, or application of the statute defining the offense is not an element of the offense unless it is included in the offense. In other words, a person does not have to know that his or her conduct is criminal or that there is a law against it in order for that person to be held criminally responsible. A person’s ignorance or mistake as to a matter of either fact or law only provides a defense in extremely limited circumstances, like when the ignorance negates the existence of the mental state required for the crime or the person has relied on certain official interpretations of the law like administrative regulations, statutes, court opinions, or certain other official interpretations.

What is the Law Regarding Police Officers’ Ignorance?

Unlike regular citizens, police officers are often not held responsible when they are ignorant of the law. One example of this double standard comes into play in the search and seizure context. Police officers are not allowed to pull over anyone driving down the road for no reason at all. Traffic stops are considered seizures under the Fourth Amendment to our United States Constitution. Therefore they must be supported by reasonable suspicion or probable cause. This means that the officer must have some basis for believing that the driver or occupants of the car are engaged in or have been engaged in criminal activity. A mere hunch is not enough. This works out when the police officer knows and understands the law that he or she believes may have been broken. But what happens when the police officer is ignorant of the law?

According to the Illinois Supreme Court, the police officer can go ahead and pull you over and have it be a lawful stop even if he or she was ignorant as to the law’s actual meaning and got it wrong. According to the Court, an objectively reasonable, though mistaken, belief as to the meaning of the law may for the basis for a constitutionally valid vehicle stop. As such, even if the officer is ignorant as to the law’s actual meaning, he or she is allowed to pull you over so long as he or she is being “objectively reasonable” in his or her interpretation of the law.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you make a mistake regarding the law, you can find yourself facing criminal charges. If this happens to you, you will need the assistance of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200. We will fight for you and help you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

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.

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

Illinois man accused of West Lafayette burglary

March 30th, 2013 at 1:44 pm

LucyAn Illinois man was recently accused of at least one burglary that occurred in a West Lafayette neighborhood.

At about 9:15 p.m. on Mar. 4, police were called to a home in the Arbor Chase neighborhood for a reported brick being thrown through the window. Along with the assistance from the K-9 unit if the Tippecanoe Co. Sheriff’s Office, the West Lafayette police officers set up a perimeter around the area.

The suspect was identified as 20-year-old Albert Goins, who was tracked down to the nearby Amberleigh Village subdivision, which was where he was arrested around 10:30 p.m. that same night

Goins has also been accused of burglarizing a home in Amberleigh Village on Jan. 30 along with throwing the brick through a window into a home in Arbor Chase of Mar. 4. According to Lt. Troy Harris from the West Lafayette Police Department (WLPD), Goins is not a resident of Amberleigh village. The address that Goins provided to the police is a University Park, Illinois address.

WLPD is also investigating four other burglaries that occurred in the Amberleigh Village neighborhood, one of which occurred on Jan. 30. The burglaries were reported first on Jan. 25 and the last one was reported in Feb.

There are detectives still working to determine whether or not Goins was involved in those other three incidents in the same neighborhood.

If you have been charged with a crime like Albert Goins has, contact an experienced criminal attorney in Rolling Meadows, Ill. today. Criminal attorney Chris Cosley will fight for you in court.

 

Gov. Pat Quinn says street crime is priority to fight

March 27th, 2013 at 1:42 pm

LucyGov.  Pat Quinn recently told congregants of a prominent Chicago church that fighting street violence is a priority and his proposed budget will help to address the problem.

“We’re never going to give up. We’re never going to let the gangbangers take over!” Quinn shouted from the pulpit to the attendants at Greater St. John Bible Church.

This speech was not schedules for the  governor, however, it came only days after the Chicago Democrat delivered what he said was the most difficult budget that the state has ever faced as Republicans and even some fellow Democrats are talking of challenging him in 2014.

Quinn’s new budget contains more money in some areas of public health, including new cadet classes for Illinois State Police and $25 million for mental health care, and huge cuts in education. The governor also spoke about his efforts to retain money for early education and increases for mental health.

This extra stop is most likely a preview of Quinn’s coming months as he prepares for a potential primary challenge and he offered a glimpse of his spirited campaign persona. He frequently quoted the bible at the church and spoke without notes to play to his crowd, which was made up mostly of black families from Chicago’s West side.

During his visit, he mentioned last year’s killing of 7-year-old Heaven Sutton, who was shot by a stray bullet as she was selling snow cones in her neighborhood, which isn’t too far from Quinn’s Chicago home. Her death was one of over 500 murders in 2012, which was higher than years passed.

Quinn said, “Little Heaven’s up in heaven today. We better take good care of our babies.”

The Illinois governor is cracking down on crimes more than ever before, so if you have been charged with a crime, you’ll need a good defense attorney. Contact Chris Cosley and attorneys in Rolling Meadows for a great criminal lawyer today.

Chicago Man Ends Up in Prison for Selling Drugs

March 24th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

LeeviA 21-year-old man has been sentenced to six years in prison for selling drugs to undercover Naperville police, according to a recent story in the Naperville Sun. Jermaine N. Moore was found guilty of a Class 1 felony charge of the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance on February 25. Drug charges should always be taken seriously. An experienced criminal defense attorney can significantly improve your chances of achieving success in the courtroom.

Moore and his sister, Kymtika D. Moore, were arrested two years ago. The arrest took place in a parking lot near McDowell Road and Route 59 on the city’s far northwest side. According to police, the arrests were made by a special police unit ending a month-long investigation concerning Moore’s criminal activities in Naperville.

Police said Moore was arrested “after he brought approximately 20 grams of heroin with an estimated street value of $4,000 to sell in Naperville.” Kymtika Moore helped her brother by driving him to and from the locations where the drugs were sold. She was sentenced “to four days in DuPage County Jail on a charge of unlawful possession of less than 15 grams of cocaine” in December 2011. In addition, she was placed on two years of probation, had to serve 15 days in the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program, and had to pay $1,370 in fines and legal costs.

If you have been charged with drug possession or another drug crime, it is in your best interests to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer who will defend your rights and make every effort to fight the allegations against you. Contact an Illinois drug charges attorney as soon as possible.

 

Transit Officials Concerned Over Concealed Weapon Law Passing

March 21st, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Millions of people rely on public transportation – buses, subways, L-trains, trains. Chicago is known for their transit system and its efficiency and mass usage. Diverse people utilize all forms to get to work, home, play and for tourism. As a relatively safe option for moving around town, what would happen if weapons were allowed on these transportation systems?

The Chicago Transit spoke to legislators to reassess the concealed weapon law for transit systems. They mentioned a bad mix of people who are drunk, violent and hot headed could lead to more violence. Chicago is already on the rise for murders just two months into 2013, and officials are concerned that if anyone can carry a concealed weapon on board public transportation, it would bring about more problems.

Christine

Legislators are looking at a variety of options as Illinois is the only state left to make a decision on the concealed weapon law. From full on out permission to carry the concealed weapons to only in specific areas, Illinois is faced with making a clear and concise decision. Supporters believe it will give people a chance to protect themselves; others believe it will just cause more trouble.

Until the concealed weapon law is clarified, you must know your rights and what you can and cannot do for protection. Your safety is extremely important but how you handle weapons to protect yourself is crucial. Know the law. If you have any questions or need representation, contact an Illinois criminal attorney who can share with you the safety and criminal aspects of concealed weapons.

 

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos

Woman Accused of Leaving Scene of Fatal Accident

March 15th, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Chicago criminal defense lawyer (Kerry)A 44 year-old Chicago woman is being held on $2 million bail for a January crash that killed two women.   Lisa Elner has been charged with failure to report an accident involving death, aggravated driving under the influence involving death, possession of cocaine and other traffic charges.

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, on Jan. 26, around 7 a.m., police found Elner wandering around near the entrance ramp to southbound Interstate 55 at Harlem Avenue. She was freezing and according to police, intoxicated. She also was seriously injured and police took her to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn. Elner told police she was walking home from a barroom, but never said anything to them about a car accident.

Five hours later, a trucker found an overturned SUV, along the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Police later discovered the bodies of two women, Michelle Miranda, 37, of Berwyn, and Sandra Frankum, 36, of Bolingbrook. An investigation revealed that that the SUV was headed south on Harlem approaching the I-55 ramp about 3 a.m. when the driver lost control and the vehicle jumped a curb and crashed through a barrier before plunging at least 50 feet onto the road below.

Given the condition police found Elsner, and the proximity to the accident location, they concluded that she must have been involved in the accident. She surrendered to police.

The defendant in this case is facing very serious charges and if found guilty, is also facing prison. If you are accused of a serious crime, contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney to make sure your rights are protected.

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