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Archive for the ‘defendant rights’ tag

Privacy Rights Upheld in Recent Supreme Court Case

September 14th, 2018 at 8:31 am

Chicago criminal defense lawyer unreasonable search and seizureIf you are facing a criminal charge, this does not mean that you are not entitled to the same rights and protections afforded to other individuals in the United States, including the right to privacy. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution affords citizens the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Search warrants are used to ensure that if a search is being conducted, then there is a legitimate reason and cause for conducting the search. There are exceptions to this rule, however. Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the right to privacy for suspects regarding warrantless searches.

Collins v. Virginia

In the case of Collins v. Virginia, the defendant was suspected of being in possession of a motorcycle that had been stolen. The motorcycle was parked under a three-walled enclosure that was covered with a tarp. This enclosure was located at the defendant’s girlfriend’s house. The house also had a traditional garage that could completely block the inside of the garage from outside view. The police suspected that this motorcycle was parked at the defendant’s girlfriend’s home and therefore went to examine the scene. Instead of obtaining a search warrant, the police officers proceeded up the driveway to where the motorcycle was parked under the tarp. The motorcycle turned out to be the stolen property they were looking for, and the defendant was arrested.

At trial, the defendant argued that his fundamental right to privacy that is guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment was violated because the police did not have a valid search warrant for the property. The state argued that finding the motorcycle without a search warrant fell under the automobile exception. The automobile exception states that police are allowed to search a vehicle when there is probable cause that the vehicle contained some type of evidence or contraband.

The Court found that the automobile exception was not applicable in this case. Instead, the three-walled tarp enclosure could be considered a part of the home. As a part of the home, it receives the same type of heightened rights to privacy as the living area of the home. The Court went on further to state that the automobile exception applies only to situations where the alleged evidence or contraband is inside of a vehicle, not sitting underneath a tarp on someone else’s property.

An Attorney Can Help You Today

If you have been charged with a criminal offense and are concerned your rights have been violated, contact experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley. Attorney Cosley is dedicated to using every possible defense applicable under the circumstances, including improper searches due to lack of a search warrant. We know that just because you might be charged with a crime, you should not lose your rights. Contact us today at 847-394-3200 for a free consultation.

Sources:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/automobile_exception
https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1027_7lio.pdf

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.

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