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Archive for the ‘Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer’ tag

What Should I Ask When Interviewing a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

October 13th, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Criminal Defense Lawyer, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, criminal offense, retain legal services, criminal defense strategyIf you have been charged with a criminal offense, hiring a criminal defense lawyer should be the top priority on your to-do list. But how should you go about doing this? It is critical that you hire an attorney who is a good fit for both you and your case.

Therefore, researching local attorneys who routinely defend clients against charges similar to yours, and who are well respected in the community, is essential. The Illinois State Bar Association’s Your Guide to Hiring a Lawyer can help you do this.

Next, sit down with the attorney in order to assess whether or not he or she and his or her firm are a good fit for you.

Consider Asking the Following Questions When Interviewing an Attorney

When interviewing a criminal defense attorney, your main goal should be to assess whether or not the attorney is well equipped to defend your legal interests, is someone you can trust, and has legal fees that are manageable with regard to your  financial situation.

Consider asking the following questions during your interview:

  1. Do you routinely handle cases like mine?

It is important to understand that the legal skills needed to competently defend a client against a DUI allegation or a murder charge are quite different. While an attorney may be well versed in one area of criminal law, he or she may have only had limited experience handling cases involving a different area of the law. Therefore, be sure to ask the attorney you are interviewing whether or not he or she routinely handles criminal cases similar to yours.

  1. What sort of defense strategy would you suggest given the facts of my case?

Although your attorney will only have had a chance to give your case a preliminary evaluation at this point, he or she will likely still be able to give you his or her initial impressions of the case and discuss the defense strategy that he or she would likely favor given the facts as the attorney knows them to be at the present time.

You can also ask the attorney what he or she believes the likely outcome of your case will be. However, be aware that an attorney can never guarantee a client a particular result. Still, an experienced lawyer will often be able to give you an idea of what you can expect to happen.

  1. How much will retaining your services cost me?

While it is not likely that the attorney will be able to give you an exact dollar amount during an initial consultation, he or she will be able to explain how his or her fee structure works and can give you a ballpark estimate of what you can expect to pay for services rendered.

It should be noted that a criminal case that ends up going to trial will rack up considerably steeper legal fees than one that is quickly settled outside of court. Hence, you may want to ask the attorney for two cost estimates—one if the case settles and the other if it goes to court.

Contact a Local Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney

At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we understand how daunting it can be to hire a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer. We know it is critical that you hire an attorney who has both the experience in handling cases similar to yours and one whom you have confidence in and trust. Therefore, we offer prospective clients the opportunity to meet with Attorney Christopher Cosley during a free consultation before retaining our legal services. During this initial meeting Mr. Cosley will review the facts of your case, answer any questions that you might have, and discuss your legal options with you.

Source:

https://www.isba.org/sites/default/files/publications/pamphlets/Hiring%20a%20Lawyer.pdf

The Ins and Outs of Claiming Self Defense in Illinois

October 2nd, 2017 at 10:24 am

claiming self defense, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, self defense claim, unlawful force, Illinois criminal defenseIn law and order television programs, characters seen under attack are often able to fight their attackers. In these dramatic scenes, the aggressors end up dead. Viewers are led to believe that everything will work out for the victims as they tell the authorities that they reacted in self defense, killing their attackers, and they are then able to simply return home.

While it is true that in America self defense is an affirmative defense (i.e. a defense that will negate liability even if the defendant committed the alleged acts) it should be noted that claiming self defense is actually a bit more complicated in reality. 

The Components of a Successful Self Defense Claim in Illinois

Illinois’ self defense statute contained in 720 ILCS 5/6-4 (also sometimes referred to as the use of force in defense of person statute), spells out the requirements that must be met in order for a criminal defendant to successfully argue that he or she was justified in using force to defend himself or herself.

Under this code section, a person is justified in using force against an individual who is threatening the imminent use of unlawful force if the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary in order to defend themselves.

However, in order for a defendant to successfully assert this defense, he or she must also be able to demonstrate that the amount of force used was proper. In other words, if the defendant used force that was intended or likely to cause great bodily harm or death, then he or she must be able to demonstrate that such force was reasonably necessary to prevent himself or herself from great bodily harm or death.

In summary, you can only successfully claim that you acted in self defense in Illinois if your belief that you were in danger of an imminent unlawful force was reasonable and if the amount of force that you used to defend yourself did not exceed the level of force threatened.

Defense of Another

It should be noted that Illinois’ use of force in defense of person statute also provides an affirmative defense for a criminal defendant who used proportionate force against an aggressor if he or she reasonably believed that such conduct was necessary in order to defend another against the imminent threat of an unlawful force. This means that you are justified in using force to defend someone else from an imminent unlawful threat of force as long as you reasonably believe that your conduct is necessary to defend against the attack and you do not use force that exceeds the level of force threatened.

Have You Been Accused of Committing a Crime? Contact a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of committing a crime and are searching for an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our well respected firm defends clients throughout the greater Chicago area against a wide variety of criminal charges and would be happy to assist you.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=8200000&SeqEnd=9700000

Hit and Run Accidents in Illinois

September 25th, 2017 at 7:47 pm

hit and run accidents, property damage, accident scene, car accident, traffic offensesAccording to the Daily Herald, the Illinois State Police are searching for a semi truck driver who fled after hitting a 48-year-old tollway maintenance worker recently. The victim was picking up trash on the shoulder of the southbound Tri-State Tollway when the trucker allegedly hit him and sideswiped his parked vehicle. The driver did not stop and, sadly, the worker passed away from his injuries.

Fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal in Illinois and if the driver is found by the authorities, then he or she will undoubtedly find himself or herself in a world of legal trouble.

Fleeing the Scene of an Accident

Under code section 625 ILCS 5/11-401 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, any driver who is involved in a motor vehicle accident involving personal injuries or death is legally obligated to immediately stop his or her vehicle.

Drivers are required to remain at the scene of the accident until they have fulfilled the exchange of information and rendering aid requirements outlined in code section 625 ILCS 5/11-403. Any driver who fails to abide by these requirements because they fled the scene of the accident is guilty of a “hit and run.”

Additionally, it should be noted that that is also illegal to flee the scene of an accident that results only in property damage. In other words, even if no one was injured in the accident you are still generally required to stay at the scene of the accident if the accident caused property damage. For example, code section 625 ILCS 5/11-402 states that any driver involved in an accident resulting in damage to a vehicle which is attended must immediately pull over and exchange information.

Penalties

Anyone who is arrested for a hit and run in Illinois which resulted in personal injuries or death can be subjected to chemical testing for drugs and/or alcohol and can be charged with a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years and a fine of up to $25,000.

However, a hit and run offender can instead by charged with a Class 2 felony (which is punishable by imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine of up to $25,000) if aggravating circumstances are present, or a Class 1 felony (punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years and a fine of up to $25,000) if the hit and run resulted in the death of another person.

Additionally, anyone who flees the scene of an accident that resulted only in property damage to an attended vehicle can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Charged With a Traffic Offense? Contact a Local Traffic Violations Defense Lawyer

Attorney Christopher Cosley, sole attorney at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, is a well respected Rolling Meadows traffic violations defense attorney who has extensive experience defending clients charged with hit and runs, as well as a wide variety of other traffic offenses. Contact our office today for assistance.

Source:

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20170918/tollway-worker-killed-in-hit-and-run-crash-along-the-tri-state

Burglary: The Elements of the Offense in Illinois

September 13th, 2017 at 7:18 am

breaking and entering, burglary, burglary crime, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, Illinois criminal defenseBurglary is generally defined as the breaking and entering into the house of another for an unlawful purpose. However, it is important to note that burglary is one of those crimes that is defined slightly differently in each state.

In Illinois, breaking in is not a required element of burglary and there are several different listed entities beyond homes and structures that can be burgled. 

Illinois Statutes Section 19-1: Burglary

According to section 19-1 of the Illinois Statutes, an individual commits the crime of burglary when, without the authority to do so, he or she knowingly enters or remains within a building, watercraft, house trailer, aircraft, railroad car, motor vehicle, or any part thereof, while intending to commit theft or a felony therein. This statute can be broken down into the following key elements:

  • Knowingly Entering or Remaining: Some people mistakenly believe that an offender must physically break something to gain access (for example, a window) in order to commit the crime of burglary. However, in Illinois this is not the case. No physical breaking in is necessary. Instead, the offender must only knowingly enter or remain without the authority to do so. For example, if a teenager intentionally remains in a department store after closing, a court would likely find that he or she knowingly remained in a building without the authority to do so and has therefore fulfilled the knowingly enters or remains requirement of burglary.
  • Intending to Commit Theft or a Felony: This element of burglary is often the most difficult for the prosecution to prove as it speaks to the intent of the offender. In order to satisfy this element, the offender must have entered (or remained) in the building (or watercraft, house trailer, aircraft, etc.) while intending to commit theft or a felony while inside. For instance, if the teenager from the example above remained in the department store with the intent to steal merchandise, then a court would likely find that this second element of burglary has been satisfied.

But how can the prosecution prove that an alleged offender intended to commit theft or a felony? How can anyone know what was in the alleged offender’s mind at the time? For example, how do we know that the teenager intended to steal merchandise and was not just looking for a safe place to spend the night?

Proving criminal intent can be tricky but is generally established via either a confession or circumstantial evidence.

Reach Out to Us For Help

If you have been charged with burglary in Illinois, then the prosecution will need to prove each element discussed above in order to convict you. Therefore, it is critical that you retain an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer who is prepared to aggressively and skillfully defend you against each allegation put forth by the prosecution. Attorney Christopher Cosley, the sole attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, is just such an attorney and would be happy to discuss your legal options with you.

Source:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K19-1

What Does it Mean to Manufacture a Controlled Substance in Illinois?

September 6th, 2017 at 7:15 am

controlled substance, drug charges, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, manufacturing a controlled substance, Illinois drug crimesIn Illinois, it is illegal under state law to manufacture a controlled substance. But what does this actually mean? In general terms, it means that an individual can be convicted of a crime if he or she makes illegal drugs or other substances. However, the legal definition is quite a bit more specific.

Key Definitions re the Unlawful Manufacture of a Controlled Substance

Under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act the terms “manufacture” and “controlled substance” are carefully defined as follows below.

Manufacture: The Illinois Controlled Substances Act defines the term “manufacture” as “the production, preparation, propagation, compounding, conversion, or processing… either directly or indirectly by”:

  • Extracting substances of natural origin;
  • Chemical synthesis; or
  • A combination of extracting and chemical synthesis.

Note that this definition does include any packaging (or repackaging) of a controlled substance or labeling of its container. However, the term manufacturing does not include:

  • The preparation or compounding of a controlled substance by an ultimate user for his/her own use; or
  • Practitioners (i.e. licensed physicians, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists, nurses, etc.), their agents, or those they supervise preparing, compounding, packaging, or labeling a controlled substance in the course of their professional practice or as part of lawful teaching, research, or chemical analysis.

Controlled Substance: Under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, a “controlled substance” is defined as (1) a drug, immediate precursor, substance, or a synthetic drug listed in the Schedules of Article II of the Controlled Substances Act or (2) a drug, immediate precursor, or other substance designated as a controlled substance by the Department. Note that this definition does not include wine, distilled spirits, malt beverages, or tobacco.

Penalties

The penalties that a defendant who is convicted of unlawfully manufacturing a controlled substance in Illinois will face varies depending on how much of the controlled substance was manufactured. However, manufacture of a controlled substance is often tried as a Class 4 felony that is punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

However, offenders can alternatively be placed on probation for up to 30 months (rather than being sentenced to serve time in prison) if the court finds that imprisonment is not appropriate nor necessary given the circumstances.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

The unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance in Illinois is a serious criminal offense that is often tried as a felony carrying a hefty prison sentence. Therefore, if you have been charged with unlawfully manufacturing a controlled substance in Illinois it is vital that you retain a passionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer who possesses the requisite experience and knowhow to vigorously defend you. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley our seasoned legal time tirelessly fights for the rights of clients throughout Illinois and would be happy to fight for you. Contact our Rolling Meadows office today to schedule your initial consultation.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53

FAQs About the Juvenile Justice System

September 4th, 2017 at 10:01 am

juvenile charges, juvenile crimes, juvenile justice system, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyerRoughly 100 years ago a juvenile justice system was established in the United States in order to divert young offenders away from the standard criminal justice system and into an alternative system focused on rehabilitation. Today the juvenile justice system still places great importance on rehabilitation. Yet nowadays the system also focuses on punishment, accountability, and promoting public safety as well.

It is also important to note that today each state has it has own juvenile justice system and that each of these 51 systems embraces slightly different objective and operates slightly differently. Therefore, any case specific questions relating to the juvenile justice system in Illinois should be directed to a local juvenile charges defense lawyer. Still, some frequently asked questions about the juvenile justice system at large have been answered below.

Q: How does the juvenile justice system differ from adult courts?

A: The Illinois juvenile justice system differs from adult courts in a number of different ways but some notable difference include the following:

  • In the juvenile system, offenders are not prosecuted for committing “crimes” but are charged with “delinquent acts” instead;
  • Juveniles do not have a public trial but instead have a private adjudication hearing;
  • When a judge in the juvenile system is determining what steps should be taken after a minor is deemed to be delinquent the minor’s best interests are taken into account;
  • Juvenile adjudication hearings are much more informal than trials conducted in the adult system; and
  • The juvenile system embraces alternative sentences (such as parole, probation, diversionary programs, etc.) in cases where the adult system likely would not.

Q: Who can be tried as a juvenile in Illinois?

A: Generally speaking, a juvenile who commits a crime in Illinois before his or her 18th birthday will be tried in the juvenile system. However, under Illinois’ Juvenile Court Act minors who are 15, 16, or 17 years old may be tried as an adult if they are charged with certain serious crimes such as first degree murder, aggravated vehicular hijacking, aggravated sexual assault, etc.

Q: Are juvenile delinquency hearings confidential?

A: Here in Illinois, juvenile delinquency hearings are presumptively closed.

Q: Can juvenile records be expunged in Illinois?

A: Juvenile records in Illinois are sealed when the offender becomes an adult. This means that certain entities (such as most potential employers) will not have access to the record, however, other entities (such as law enforcement organizations and the military) will be able to view it. However, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission notes that an Illinois juvenile record can be expunged if the offender is at least 17 years old (or 18 if the record contains a misdemeanor offense) and the youth:

  • Was arrested but not charged;
  • Was charged but not found to be delinquent;
  • Completed court supervision; or
  • Was found delinquent for a business offense, a petty offense, or a misdemeanor offense.

Additionally, some juvenile felony records can also be expunged, however some can not. Whether or not a felony juvenile record can be expunged is highly case specific, so be sure to direct questions about expunging a juvenile felony record to a local juvenile charges defense attorney.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Juvenile Charges Defense Attorney

If your child has had a run in with the law in Illinois you likely have a lot of questions. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley our experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys would be happy to answer your questions and advise you of your child’s legal options during an initial consultation at our office.

Source:

http://www.icjia.state.il.us/assets/pdf/ResearchReports/IL_Juvenile_Justice_System_Walkthrough_0810.pdf

Drug Paraphernalia is Illegal in Illinois

August 28th, 2017 at 11:10 am

drug paraphernalia, drug possession, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, Illinois drug charges, Illinois drug crimesDid you know that under some circumstances it is illegal to possess drug paraphernalia in Illinois? In fact, you can be arrested and charged with a crime if you possess drug paraphernalia with the intent to use that paraphernalia to ingest an illegal substance, regardless of whether or not you also had drugs on you at the time. 

Illinois’ Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Statute

Under code section 720 ILCS 600/3.5 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes it is illegal to knowingly possess drug paraphernalia with the intent to use the paraphernalia to take cannabis or a controlled substance (or to prepare cannabis or a controlled substance to be taken).

Unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by a minimum fine of $750 and that can be punished by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to one year in jail.

The Federal Drug Paraphernalia Statute

It should be noted that federal law also criminalizes possessing drug paraphernalia under some circumstances. For example, under code section 21 U.S. Code § 863 it is illegal for any person to (1) sell (or offer to sell) drug paraphernalia, (2) use the mail or another form of interstate commerce to transport drug paraphernalia, or (3) import or export drug paraphernalia. Violating this code section is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years and payment of a fine.

What Qualifies as Drug Paraphernalia?

Illinois law defines “drug paraphernalia” as any equipment, product, or material (other than methamphetamine manufacturing materials) that are intended to be unlawfully used in propagating, planting, cultivating, harvesting, growing, manufacturing, converting, compounding, processing, producing, testing, preparing, packaging, analyzing, storing, repackaging, concealing, containing, injecting, inhaling, ingesting, or otherwise introducing into the human body cannabis or a controlled substance.

Examples of items frequently deemed to be drug paraphernalia include:

  • Syringes,
  • Needles,
  • Small scales,
  • Glass and metal pipes,
  • Ice pipes or chillers,
  • Isomerization devices used to increase the potency of cannabis or another plant,
  • Testing equipment used to determine the effectiveness, strength, or purity of cannabis or a controlled substances,
  • Diluents and adulterants used to cut cannabis or a controlled substance,
  • Roach clips, and
  • Cocaine freebase kits.

Federal law defines drug paraphernalia in essentially the same way that Illinois law does. The exact wording of the federal definition can be found in code section 21 U.S. Code § 863(d).

Reach Out to Us for Help

If you have been charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, or some other drug-related crime in Illinois, contact the experienced Rolling Meadows drug paraphernalia possession lawyers of The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our firm is committed to providing exceptional legal representation to those who are in need of strong, aggressive, and supportive legal counsel and we would be happy to assist you. To discuss your legal options with one of our experienced lawyers during a free initial consultation, contact our Rolling Meadows office today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1947&ChapterID=53

The Three Types of Protective Orders Available in Illinois

July 17th, 2017 at 12:13 pm

protective orders, Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer, Illinois criminal defense, Illinois protective order, protective order violationIn Illinois, there are three different types of protective orders (also referred to as restraining orders); emergency protective orders, interim protective orders, and plenary protective orders. If a protective order has been filed against you it is important that you understand which type of order you are facing so that you can take the necessary steps to protect your legal rights. Read on to learn about the three types of protective orders available in Illinois and then contact a local order of protection criminal defense lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Emergency Protective Orders

An emergency protective order offers short-term protection to the accuser and can be issued solely based on his or her testimony. Furthermore, under some circumstances an emergency protective order can be issued ex parte, i.e. against you without prior notice. Emergency protective orders are temporary in nature and are designed to be in effect until a full hearing for a more long-term protective order can be held (this usually takes place within 14-21 days).

Interim Protective Orders

In some cases it takes awhile before a full restraining order hearing can be held. When this happens, the court may issue an interim protective order to be in effect from the date on which the accuser’s emergency protective order expires until the full court hearing takes place. Interim protective orders can be in effect for up to 30 days. However, an interim protective order can only be issued against you in Illinois if you have had a chance to make an initial appearance in court and have been properly notified of the date on which your full restraining order hearing will take place.

Plenary Protective Orders

Plenary protective orders are unique because unlike the other types of protective orders that are available in Illinois plenary orders offer long-term protection. Plenary protective orders may last up to two years and, under 750 ILCS 60/220(e), may be renewed an unlimited number of times. However, a court will not issue a plenary protective order until after holding a hearing in which both the accuser and the accused have had a chance to present their cases.

A Protective Order Has Been Filed Against Me, What Should I Do Now?

The circumstances surrounding each protective order are different, so the best thing that you can do is consult with a local criminal defense attorney about the specifics of your case. However, it is generally also advisable to avoid all contact with your accuser (this includes calling or texting them!), attend every hearing that has been scheduled, and fully comply with every provision of the order against you.

Reach Out to Us for Assistance

If you need help opposing an Illinois protective order, or defending yourself against an alleged protective order violation, the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers of The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are here to help. Our firm is located in Rolling Meadows but we are dedicated to defending adults and juveniles throughout the greater Chicago area.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000600K220

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

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

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