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Archive for the ‘guilty plea’ tag

What Does it Mean to Plead “No Contest?”

March 20th, 2018 at 6:29 am

charged with a crime, guilty plea, plead no contest, pleading guilty, Rolling Meadows defense attorneyIf you have been charged with a crime, you must enter a plea to the court. Generally, people think of “guilty” or “not guilty.” However, there are other options, such as “no contest.”

Under Illinois law, a defendant is brought into open court and read the charges against him or her. The defendant then makes a plea pursuant to 725 ILCS 5/113-4, by either pleading guilty, guilty but mentally ill, or not guilty. The statute does not specifically point to the plea of no contest. Because no contest is not stated in the statute, a defendant does not have the right to plead no contest in every criminal case. However, a judge can allow the defendant to make the no contest plea.

What is “No Contest”

No contest comes from the phrase “nolo contendere,” which means “I will not contest.” A no contest plea is very similar to a plea of guilty. In a no contest plea, the defendant does not disagree with the facts of the case, or his or her role in the crime. The defendant is, however, not admitting guilt. When a defendant pleads guilty, he or she is admitting their guilt in the crime. The plea of no contest is essentially the defendant accepting the penalties for the crime, but without admitting guilt.

Consequences of “No Contest”

While it appears that a guilty plea and a no contest plea are the same, there is one substantial difference. A guilty plea will follow a defendant to other cases. A defendant who pleads guilty can have that conviction be used as evidence in future trial, crimes, or proceedings. A no contest plea cannot be used against a defendant in later proceedings.

For example, if an individual caused an injury while driving under the influence of alcohol, a plea of no contest could protect him or her from additional civil proceedings.  If a defendant pleads guilty to the DUI and injuries, the injured party could use that admission of guilt in a civil suit. A plea of no contest would not allow the injured party, or the injured party’s representatives, to use the plea in a future lawsuit. Since the defendant did not admit guilt through the no contest plea, it cannot be used against him or her in the future.

An Attorney Can Help You Today

Figuring out what plea to enter in a crime is tricky. If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorney who knows how to help. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley will inform you of your options and help you decide what the best course of action is. Our legal team wants to advocate for your rights and provide the best possible defense. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072500050HArt.+113&ActID=1966&ChapterID=54&SeqStart=25200000&SeqEnd=26200000

The Victims’ Rights Clause Confuses the Civil and Criminal Systems

August 3rd, 2015 at 10:44 am

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois civil court system, Both the United States and Illinois have two different justice systems: the criminal justice system and the civil justice system. When you are charged with a criminal offense your case is supposed to be handled in the criminal justice system. However, over time some of the important distinctions between the two have become blurred. This is particularly clear when it comes to so-called victims’ rights provisions, like those found in the Illinois Constitution.

The Traditional Difference between the Criminal and Civil Justice Systems

The criminal and civil justice systems are different. The civil justice system is wherein civil lawsuits are filed by ordinary individuals. This system exists to address grievances that exist between private people, between a private person and a company, or between two companies. In contrast, the criminal justice system is meant to have nothing to do with private wrongs. Within the criminal justice system, a person may be accused of committing a crime against the state. That is why these cases are prosecuted by a “state’s attorney” rather than some private attorney hired by the accuser or his or her family. Each system has its own burden of proof and its own mechanism of justice. While in the criminal system, imprisonment is available if a person is found guilty, in the civil system the liable person is held responsible by being ordered to pay money to the injured person.

A Convolution of the Systems: The Victims’ Rights Provisions

Serious crimes can have long-term or even permanent effects on crime victims and their families. No one denies that, and that is part of why the civil justice system exists: for those people to get a day in court and to potentially obtain justice where it is appropriate. However, the criminal justice system in Illinois has become victim-centric as well. Well-meaning voters and legislatures have enacted laws and constitutional provisions that protect “victims’ rights.” These provisions have given accusers rights to impact the freedom of the defendant before he or she has even been found guilty of a crime. These provisions commonly act as a reason to keep the accused (and presumed innocent) defendant locked up before a trial has even been held or guilt determined. This does not only hurt the defendant, however. It also leads to jail overcrowding that is expensive for taxpayers and dangerous for the men and women who work in our prison systems. It also encourages people to plead guilty who may not be guilty, as a guilty plea can all too often lead to a faster release than a not guilty verdict due to bail policies designed to make crime victims feel satisfied rather than to serve the purpose of bail; that is, to insure the defendant’s appearance in court. Accusers are not parties in criminal cases, so giving them so much control in these cases is inappropriate and detrimental.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney like Christopher M. Cosley. Call us today at (847)394-3200.  We will advocate for you and fight for a positive outcome in your case. The prosecution has the power of the entire state on its side; you deserve to have an experienced advocate on yours.

Withdrawing a Guilty Plea

February 28th, 2014 at 12:29 pm

criminal hearing, homicide, murder, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, guilty pleaThe Chicago Tribune recently ran an article about a defendant who withdrew his guilty plea in connection with a murder charge. The 22-year-old man, from Aurora, had pled guilty to murdering a woman in October of 2005, when he was just 14 years old.

 Appellate Court Decision

The hearing came in light of last year’s appellate court decision, which stated that the defendant’s 2009 guilty plea was invalid, as it provided for a 45-year minimum sentence, and not the 35-year sentence he should have received as the result of entering a plea to first-degree murder. The Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear the case when county prosecutors appealed the appellate court’s decision.

 New Criminal Process

There was a short court hearing on February 11th, which served to reset the criminal process against the defendant in light of the appellate court opinion allowing him to withdraw his plea. It was the first court hearing since the decision.

 Case Background

The defendant’s current charges stem from the murder of an Aurora woman during a home invasion on October 31, 2005. Her body was discovered by law enforcement two months later in Batavia Township. The Defendant, who is a Sudanese immigrant and had a significant juvenile record prior to this incident, was originally arrested for the murder in 2007. When he pled guilty in 2009, he almost immediately tried to withdraw his plea.

 Illinois Law Regarding Withdrawing a Guilty Plea

According to the law in Illinois, certain procedural and legislative requirements have to be met in order for a defendant in a criminal case to  withdraw a guilty plea. A motion to withdraw a guilty plea must be filed within 30 days of the date it is entered. This time limit must be met in order for a judge to even consider hearing the motion.

If the Judge agrees to hear the motion, the defendant must show that the guilty plea was not made knowingly, intelligently, or voluntarily. This is usually difficult to do, as criminal procedure usually requires the defendant to be fully informed of the rights he or she is waiving as the result of pleading guilty and the consequences of doing so. Established case law has stated that guilty pleas will not be withdrawn unless it is necessary to correct a manifest injustice.  Therefore, it is usually exceedingly difficult to successfully withdraw a guilty plea once it is entered.

All that being said, while it is difficult to withdraw a guilty plea, it is not impossible, as the case previously mentioned demonstrates. An experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney can advise you of your rights and likelihood for success in light of the facts of your particular case. If you or someone you know is charged with a crime in the state of Illinois, contact us today.

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